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ST GEORGES RC HIGH SCHOOL SALFORD TO CLOSE
 

Star date: 13th January 2013 

A Salford Star Exclusive

`VINDICTIVE' SALFORD COUNCIL FORCES CLOSURE OF ST GEORGE'S IN LITTLE HULTON

"I want to make it absolutely clear that our proposal for St George's is for its refurbishment on the existing site" John Merry 2010

Having failed to shut St George's RC High School three years ago, when the Schools Adjudicator ruled that it should stay open, Salford Council has now forced the school's proposed closure and amalgamation with the new St Ambrose Barlow RC school.

Walkden councillor Ian Lindley agues that St George's has been "starved into submission" by a "vindictive" Salford Council. Last time the Council tried to shut the school it brought the whole community out battling in its support .

Full details here…


St George's RC High Salford St George's RC High Salford St George's RC High Salford
St George's RC High Salford St George's RC High Salford
click image to enlarge

Parents and pupils at St George's RC High School in Little Hulton were told last Friday that the school is to close in 2014, after a gradual amalgamation with the new St Ambrose Barlow.

In November 2009, after a bitter battle by the school and community to keep St George's open which brought thousands of people onto the streets of Little Hulton and Manchester, the Schools Adjudicator ruled that the school shouldn't close (see here).

Three months later in February 2010, however, Salford Council produced proposals for the future of its Building Schools for the Future scheme which included the option of "closures and amalgamation".

The Council even put out a press statement expressing that "closure of St George's would have provided pupils with the option to attend an enlarged, newly built St Ambrose Barlow, or one of the community schools in the area. It would have released extra funding from the sale of the then redundant site." (see here)…

…To which St George's Head Philip Harte responded "I broke up for half term and I thought I had gone back in time! Does Salford City Council never listen to the people? I cannot accept that St George's and other Catholic High schools are being held to ransom because of the appalling mistakes that were made by this council.

"St George's is being made the scapegoat when the reality of the situation is the intransience of this council and their totally inept planning that has created this situation" he added "I have said this many times and I will say it again YOU DONT CLOSE GOOD SCHOOLS councillors you build them up."

The then Leader of Salford Council, John Merry, was forced to put out a further statement…"There is no agenda here" he said "I want to make it absolutely clear that our proposal for St George's is for its refurbishment on the existing site. What we are asking Catholic schools and the diocese for is more options if they have any, simple as that." (see here)

Now, almost three years later John Merry, now Assistant Mayor for Children and Young People, is overseeing the proposed closure again in what Walkden South Councillor Ian Lindley is calling a "vindictive" move.

"This is sad and distressing news for the community in Walkden and Little Hulton" he says "The decision of the St George's Governors is extremely disappointing, but they have been left in a difficult, if not impossible, position.

"Having failed in their vindictive campaign to close the school through formal means, Salford's Labour Council have in terms of funding effectively starved the school into submission" he adds "I want to hear the views of parents, pupils and the wider community. There will be a consultation, and I will always support St George's for as long as the community wants it to remain open."

Responding, Assistant Mayor John Merry stated that "It's not our proposal and the school is funded under exactly the same formula as any other school..."

The Salford Star, which supported the JustKids4Georges campaign to keep the school open during the three year battle with the Council, has always maintained that the agenda behind the closure was the land upon which the school stands.

In 2008, the Council even had the St George's site down as available upon which to build 85 houses in its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment Report (as revealed in Salford Star issue 8).

Even now, as the school's Governors and the Catholic Diocese are backing the amalgamation, the closure plan stinks of money and finance – and not what is best for Salford kids' education…

* For a full background to the Battle for St George's see Salford Star issue 7 features - click here


Update 14th January

The letter from St George's RC High School Governors to parents is now available on the school website. In the letter the Governors make it clear that, despite Salford Council's `proposal for refurbishment' of the school, this was never forthcoming…

"There are not sufficient funds for a rebuild of St. George's or a satisfactory refurbishment. The Governors can see other pupils in Salford having the opportunity of being taught in first class, state of the art facilities, which are not being made available to our pupils.

"Our campaign was always to get the best possible educational opportunities for our pupils and we believe that we could deliver that at St. George's provided we were resourced satisfactorily.

"In the absence of the investment required to achieve this, the opportunity of being part of an outstanding school which will have the best facilities possible is an offer we reluctantly felt we could not refuse because the alternative was to put at risk the education of our pupils which is our priority."

See the full letter – click here

Update: 17th January

At the meeting of the full Council yesterday, Assistant Mayor John Merry accused Councillor Lindley of “political point scoring” over St George’s, argued that there “was no foundation or truth” to his reaction and challenged him to withdraw the comments about the Council being `vindictive’ and `starving the school of resources’.

Councillor Lindley said he stood by what he had said… “The Council tried to close the school but the Adjudicator said said the school must stay open” he responded “We wouldn’t be at this point if the Council would have given St George’s a fair allocation of BSF [Building Schools for the Future] cash…If this Council would have backed St George’s we would never have been in this position.”

Concluding the debate City Mayor Ian Stewart said that he “understands the feelings and the emotions…Can St George’s be reviewed? No.”


veryangry salfordian wrote
at 3:34:51 PM on Thursday, January 31, 2013
My heart aches for the pupils and parents of St Georges.Mr Harte is the kind of headteacher every school in Salford needs but does this matter to Salford Council/Education - not a bit. Your child's education in this city in unimportant the council is more interested in second rate Heads who somehow manage to promote themselves and achieve accolades such as CBE'S etc. I have had a long running battle with a Salford School (not St Georges) the Council/Education department and numerous officials, in all the maddness Mr Harte was the only person who spoke any sense. I am so disillusioned with the education system I have opted out and my child is being home educated. The powers that be should be begging this man to keep his school open and using him as an example to other schools of how things should be done. His passion kindness and humanity is secomd to none. I wish you all the very best for the future.
 
salford pimpernel wrote
at 1:50:52 AM on Thursday, January 17, 2013
@life is loud. this whole labour council isn't cost effective but I don't see them resigning from their posts from the way they have dragged the city in to the gutter.PS still no reply from the caring/listening labour councillor Tom Murphy. if we need to save money, one councillor per ward. but turkeys don't vote for Christmas do they. we the public need to throw every labour councillor and MPs out at the next election.
 
carolinegray wrote
at 1:50:24 AM on Thursday, January 17, 2013
I may have been unkind in my comments as there is a tale to be told..But at the end of the day.. pay for your own schools..keeping in got half cost..the rest payed for by r.c.people..The Diocese did not normally pay the bills..
 
GED wrote
at 12:20:13 AM on Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Blame the Council, particularly vindictive John Merry, who has always wanted St. George's punished for standing up to the Council in refusing to be shut down in 2009; blame the mandarins in Children's services; blame the planners for starving St George's and keeping them firmly on the bottom of the spending pile - remember this was the school which the Salford Star exposed as having no playing fields because the Council had sold them off to a sheep farmer in Little Hulton; but most of all blame the Catholic Diocese who turned their backs on this school, their own flock, which caused them embarrassment and now will help to shut it down for a bit more than twenty pieces of silver. No doubt it is all down to the economic downturn - in the best interest of the kids blah blah. Sickening.
 
Dave wrote
at 2:51:49 PM on Monday, January 14, 2013
Salford council seem to have a hard-on for knocking down schools, they would love it if all the kids in Salford lived in one area then they could knock em all down and build one big school. Best advice i can give to the council if they want to make a difference to the future of the kids is..................................... Knock down the town hall ( best time to do it would be this wenesday @9:30am ).
 
Honest John wrote
at 2:51:36 PM on Monday, January 14, 2013
It shows you what weight a "proposal" has with the council. A case of "honest John" striking again. If anyone has read Animal Farm, do the pigs starting to walk on two legs remind you of what the LABOUR council does to the people who voted it in?
 
carolinegray wrote
at 1:20:00 PM on Monday, January 14, 2013
As a cosin of Dev ..I can only say you are lucky they even allowed R.C.Schools..I am sure they keep in for money and to keep in with the other side of the fence..Maybe now they do not need to..I would add my chridren went to state schools an R.C.But the R.C.Schools they recived a good moral standing for life and there lessons were far better..It is a mistake to say best facilities..Rubbish ..you do not need it...Do not give in..Shame on you..keeps saying error..oops
 
julia kirkman wrote
at 12:27:24 PM on Monday, January 14, 2013
I was a pupil at st georges and I have argued with my 10 year old daughter about going to it as I have never had an issues with it and found it to be the only one in the area to teach in a catholic way I will not send her to st ambrose as it is to fatr and in light of what society is like today far to risky to let young and some vunrable kids travel to get a decent education sslgord are out of order so unfar of the local people very sad.
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 11:24:38 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
Life is loud, what has happened to parental choice. There is nothing wrong with Ambrose,my children went there. But 3/4 years ago the decision was made that St Georges should stay open and be modernized to serve the community of that area, what has changed. This council has done what it does best, gone back on its word.Let the children,parents and staff down,yet again. If they told me the sky was blue I would go and look first. You can't believe a word they say. If it is true that this is down to the diciest alone, then they should also hang their head in shame. What will happen to the money for the refurbishment that was set aside? New year and already they are treating us like mushrooms (in the dark covered in sh-t, again)
 
life is loud wrote
at 9:51:54 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
Its not cost efffective to keep an old school running and anyway whats wrong with going to St. Ambrose?
 
Fed up Irwell Riverside Ward wrote
at 9:51:46 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
What's Labours promise ,Education,Education,Education, Now it's we Don't Care,We Don't Care,We don't care, As long as our big Salaries are paid.... This City Council are an utter disgrace,and as a City need to Vote Labout Out,Out,Out , as I've been doing for years, We've had enough now,Goodbye Labour Scumbags.
 
julie mitchell wrote
at 7:20:20 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
its a disgrace whats going on there nothing for our children in lh anymore .we was told last sept this school was being kept open thats why we sent our kids my kids will not be going to wardley to the catholic school its too far theres no catholic schools in our area .so why should we get our kids christened and let them make there holy communion when they can go to a catholic school in our area its terrible .
 
salford pimpernel wrote
at 7:19:50 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
@Educated Ed, your right,it seems the only way forward, seems that this LABOUR council has got it in for this school and many others, remember labour donors, millionaires and developers right to make money comes first and all labour councillors are on the gravy train or the ones who are not have no back bone and are just as guilty.
 
Educated Ed wrote
at 3:40:48 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
Best thing St George's can do is get themselves acadamy status, that gets them as far away from this inept failure of a council as is possable. Maybe then instead of having to fight the clowns at the clownhall many of whom could not tell you the answer too a simple sum, the school can focus on providing an education for it's pupils which is what a school is for.
 
Brian F Kirkham wrote
at 3:40:12 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
I see our council are at it again with their Cromwellian Approach to Education. If there are new plans for Catholic High Schools in Salford - Let's See them, but If the Council Case for Closure hasn't Changed from last time (you know, the one that was thrown out by the adjudicator) - Leave the School to get on with the job of educating the RC Pupils of Walkden and Little Hulton.
 
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 12:00:55 AM on Monday, January 14, 2013
Another crime against the people of this city. I remember listening to Mr Harte speaking at full council with passion and pride about St Georges.I,along with others thought that this council had seen the light and would NOT close a good school. Don't our Children matter.What happened to the ruling to keep the school open and to modernize.
 
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