Campaigners fighting to save Shrewsbury’s Wakeman School have been dealt a blow after town councillors backed plans to close it.
Members of Shrewsbury Town Council agreed on Monday to support the closure of the school in Abbey Foregate, the only secondary school on Shropshire Council’s hit-list of nine schools that it wants to shut. Councillor Peter Nutting, from the town council, said it now appeared ‘inevitable’ the school would close.
The news comes just after Andy Rayment, chairman of governors, claimed education chiefs would have to pay out £35 million to build a new school in Shrewsbury within the next 10 years if they went ahead with the closure.
Meanwhile, fellow governor Joanna Purslow has reacted angrily to the town council’s decision. She said: “The town council has responded after the official consultation finished on April 8.
“The Wakeman has already submitted a response which shows the local authority has other options rather than closing the school. We do not agree with the proposals as there is a lot of information in the consultation which is incorrect.”
Councillor Nutting said the authority had received a letter from David Taylor, director of children and young people’s services at Shropshire Council, which had made a compelling case for the school’s closure.
He said: “We really do appreciate the letter and we did accept from the facts in it that it will be difficult to continue with the Wakeman as a school.
“Our main concern is that the building should stay in educational use. This could either be as a building for Shrewsbury Sixth Form College or Shrewsbury College or higher education or a mixture of higher and further education.
“Looking at the numbers in the letter it seems inevitable that the Wakeman is going to close.”
In a letter to the town council clerk, Mr Taylor says: “In addition to the fixed costs, should the Wakeman close, a further £1.316 million per year would be reallocated, mainly to Shrewsbury schools as a result of funding following pupils.
“Although a proportion would go on additional funding, a substantial proportion would be available for redistribution to other frontline education uses.”