Petition to save Chichester school reaches 1,000 signatures but parents are 'darkly wondering if they have any chance'

'Concerned and shocked' residents, past and present parents and former students of Rumboldswhyke school have rallied against the closure proposal. Photo: Kate Shemilt
'Concerned and shocked' residents, past and present parents and former students of Rumboldswhyke school have rallied against the closure proposal. Photo: Kate Shemilt

Parents of children at a Chichester primary school are 'darkly wondering if they have any chance' of preventing its closure, despite a petition reaching 1,000 signatures.

'Concerned and shocked' residents, past and present parents and former students of Rumboldswhyke Infant's School rallied against the proposal for the school to be closed alongside four other rural schools in West Sussex, which have ‘exceptionally low pupil numbers’. Also facing the same fate, is Compton and Up Marden school in School Lane, Compton and Stedham Primary School, in Stedham, near Midhurst.

A group named Save Rumboldswhyke Infants’ School was set up last month to form a petition, which has now 'reached a milestone 1,000 signatures'.

A consultation looking for views on the future of the school was launched earlier this month and a public meeting is due to be held on Thursday, November 7, 6.30pm to 8pm.

The campaign group said it was 'confident that the strength of feeling in the community will be heard loud and clear'.

A spokesperson said: "A first tranche of five schools has been put out for consultation. One of them, Rumboldswhyke in Chichester, is fighting back [but] parents are darkly wondering if they have any chance, or if the 'consultation' is just a tick box exercise."

Rumboldswhyke Infant’s School, which was founded 135 years ago and now has 72 pupils, was rated inadequate by inspectors In its most recent Oftsed report.

The report stated that there had been ‘considerable turbulence’ within the school over the years and said the quality of teaching needed improving.

The campaign group commented: "For many years it has ‘fed’ into Central Junior School but, around five years ago, Central School was put into ‘special measures’. Since then, numbers at Rumboldswhyke School have been dwindling as prospective parents, more than happy with what they see at the infants school itself, nevertheless send their children elsewhere for the sake of their longer term education.

"Parents, teachers, community members and supporters of the school are warmly invited to a consultation evening, organised by the county council, on Thursday, November 7, in Rumboldswhyke School at 6.30 pm."

The online petition is still live and can be signed here. If you would prefer to sign a paper petition, email cristina_32@hotmail.com or visit http://saverumboldswhykeschool.co.uk.