A petition, signed by more than 1,300 people, has been submitted in a bid to save a Chichester primary school.
Rumboldswhyke CofE Infants School was one of five small primary schools identified as potentially vulnerable by West Sussex County Council earlier this year.
Residents, past and present parents and former students rallied against the proposal to close the school by forming a petition.
After handing in the petition to Ashvin Patel, vice-chairman of the county council, at County Hall, yesterday afternoon (Tuesday), a spokesperson for the Save Rumboldswhyke group said: “We have had 1,363 signatures, which is significant for a small infant school and small community. It absolutely shows the strength [of the support].
“We only have 102 enrolled so this is ten times that. There is a large number of supporters.
“We want the council to think about all the options. as there are other possibilities other than closure.”
Linda Curwen, a local resident near the school, said she hopes the county council ‘accepts the strength of feeling’ and the ‘case that the community has put to them’.
She added: “They have only presented the school with closure.
“It’s right in the middle [of the community] and it provides a good educational grounding in the community for local children.
“They get to school and they are happy and relaxed, ready to learn. What else can the community ask for?
“There are elderly residents who have watched children grow after coming to this school.”
Councillor Sarah Sharp, a former parent at the school, has been supporting the campaign. She said: “The team has worked incredibly hard to get the message out that we need to support small schools in the heart of local communities.
“I know how important it is to have a small school that you can walk or cycle or scoot too with small children or a baby in too.
“Not everyone can or wants to drive every day to take their children to school. And not everyone wants to send their child to a two or three form entry school.
“And some people do want the choice of a small CofE school well known for its caring qualities and nurturing environment.”
Councillor Sharp said the Save Rumboldswhyke School group is ‘working hard to put together a strategy to save the school’.
She added: “We are thinking outside the box of a simple stark choice of academisation or closure and working on putting together a practical, viable alternative that will work towards a federation or cooperation of different schools to keep Rumboldswhyke open.”
Mr Patel said the group are ‘fighting for a good cause’, as education is the ‘most important thing’.
He added: “I will pass the petition to the cabinet who will make the final decision.”
It’s not too late to share your views, with the county council consultation ending on Monday. Click here to have your say
Councillor Sharp continued: “It is everyone’s last chance this week to fill in the public consultation document and I would urge people to have their say to support this inner city school and the other small schools at threat.”