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Record low for Deanes’ intake
9:40pm Monday 9th September 2013 in Local News
THE uncertainty surrounding the future of the Deanes School in Thundersley led to 24 families opted to send their children elsewhere, it has been revealed.
This year’s final Year 7 intake at the school, in Daws Heath Road, is just 60 – the lowest in the history of the school.
A total of 84 youngsters were signed up to start on the first day of term on Tuesday, but many chose to take places elsewhere after Essex County Council announced it wanted to shut the secondary school.
While some parents rang staff at the school to explain their decision, some pupils simply failed to turn up.
Lisa Sloane, assistant headteacher, said: “We’ve had a lot drop out. You can understand why parents would want to find somewhere else for their children, because of all the uncertainty we’re facing at the moment, but it’s obviously very disappointing.
“We always planned to have three classes in Year 7 this year and that hasn’t changed, they are just much smaller.
“The atmosphere at the school is still really positive, and all the parents and members of the community we have spoken to are convinced the closure is not going to happen.
From our point of view, it’s definitely business as usual at Deanes.”
County Hall first revealed plans to close Deanes in May.
Education bosses claimed keeping the school open was “not viable” unless each year group had 120 pupils.
Desi McKewon, also an assistant headteacher, said: “We always knew this year was going to be a low intake because it’s a low birth year.
You just have to look at Year 6 pupil numbers for last year at nearby primary schools to see that.
“I think we need to prove we can get 120 students in every year group from now on. We have done it so far and I’m confident we can do it again in the future.”
On Monday, Ray Gooding, the county council’s education boss, announced he would move forward with plans to close the school, despite a special scrutiny committee ruling there was insufficient evidence to support that action.
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