11th-hour challenge to evictions at illegal encampment

16th September 2005 at 01:00
The Essex school boycotted by a village after Traveller children moved in has said it is "business as usual", whatever happens in a court battle over an illegal site, writes Adam Luck.

Crays Hill primary, near Billericay, faces losing a large proportion of its intake and there are questions about its long-term future if the eviction of families from the site goes ahead.

Earlier this year, the Travellers said that all but one of the school's 60 pupils would have to go if they lost their bid to remain on an illegal site.

More than 400 Travellers live on the site, which is about a mile from the school and is the subject of an 11th-hour application for a judicial review against a court decision to evict the families.

Essex county council said that many children at Crays Hill come from a legal Traveller site, and therefore the eviction would not lead to school closure.

A spokeswoman said: "It does not mean anything to the school because it is continuing regardless of the evictions.

"It is predominantly Traveller children attending, and is working very well. The teachers are happy to be there and it is business as usual."

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