Behaviour will worsen if school closes, says head

Anti-social behaviour problems could increase if a comprehensive serving a deprived part of Liverpool is forced to close, its headteacher has warned.

Anti-social behaviour problems could increase if a comprehensive serving a deprived part of Liverpool is forced to close, its headteacher has warned.

Liverpool City Council has announced plans to shut Croxteth Comprehensive School, the only mixed-sex school serving the area that came to prominence last year following the shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones, a case that was being tried this week.

Richard Baker, the headteacher, said he was concerned that putting the boys from the area in a proposed single-sex Catholic academy could make community safety worse.

"We think they have got it all wrong, and that if you take us out of the equation there will be problems," said Mr Baker. "If you are not careful, community cohesion will be made even worse because at the moment the school is a stabilising factor here."

Mr Baker said there had been a build-up in gun and knife crime incidents before Rhys was killed, but that his school was well placed to deal with those issues.

The council wants to shut the school in 2010 because of falling pupil rolls in a plan that would reduce the number of secondaries in the area from three to two.

The remaining schools would be a Catholic girls' school and a newly proposed Catholic boys' academy, although both would have to accept children from non-religious backgrounds.

A consultation on the closure will run until December with a final decision to follow.

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