Halt the rumour mill on Bristol school closures

4th October 1996 at 01:00
Your report on Bristol's school places plan (TES, September 20) is essentially fair and accurate, but wrecked by cavalier sub-editing. New authority to close 58 schools? Surely all of Bristol would be out to lynch the education committee! But when we read Michael Prestage's article we find it is 58 schools "earmarked for closure or merger". Sadly the merger, involving 17 pairs of infant and junior schools, slipped off the headline.

Headlines like these will be read by Bristol teachers, feed an overworked rumour mill, and create unnecessary anxiety. I have to say I would have expected more reasoned reporting from The TES. In total, 21 primary schools are being considered in five area reviews with a view to removing surplus places by possible closure. No more than five potential closures then, a far cry from 58, and only potential closures at this stage.

The education committee has agreed merely to go out to a full, thorough and open consultation at this point, something not stressed sufficiently in your report. Local government reorganisation and government under-funding have left us with some hard decisions in Bristol. Despite this, children are returning to our schools after years of drift out of the city. This year has seen a marked increase in standards in GCSE and A-level in the city, trends we are determined to pursue and encourage.

STEPHEN GRANT

Vice-chair, Bristol education committee

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