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We’ll back Deanes, but won’t fund it
CASTLE Point Council has refused to stump up any cash to help save the Deanes School.
Speaking at the council’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday night, leader Pam Challis said education was the responsibility of Essex County Council and the borough council could not afford the £480,000 needed to bail out the under-threat school, in Daws Heath Road, Thundersley.
Campaigners have described the comments as “disg raceful”
and claim the borough council has not properly considered the proposal. Last week the Echo reported county council leader David Finch had challenged Castle Point Council to put forward the £480,000 shortfall needed to keep the school open if it was so confident pupil numbers would not continue to drop.
At the same time Basildon Council offered to put in some cash, but only if Castle Point Council also put in some of its own money.
Mrs Challis said: “I can confirm the council has received resubmitted petitions for the Deanes School to remain open, which we will pass on to Essex County Council.
“The borough council is in full support of the school’s staff, parents and governors and we are doing all we can to make the strongest possible arguments to keep the school open.
“We support the Save the Deanes campaign, but at the same time, we must confirm that we have no funding for schools in our budget.
“Essex County Council is the education authority and it receives funding for schools through the council tax precept.
“It has responsibility for the future of the school.”
Sarah Raven, campaign manager for Save the Deanes, said: “We have been calling for a meeting between the Deanes School, Essex County Council and Basildon Council so they can discuss the issue, but this has not happened.
“It is disgraceful Castle Point Council has ruled out any sort of bail out without discussing it thoroughly.”
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