Super-school rebels face prosecution

29th October 1999 at 01:00
PARENTS who are unwilling to send their children to a new "super-school" are refusing to bow to the threat of prosecution by their education authority.

Leicester Council wrote to 15 parents on Tuesday telling them that their children must attend the city's 2,000-pupil New College within 15 days, or be prosecuted. But the parents say they will defy the warning and go to court.

The 15 parents have organised alternative lessons for their children in classrooms belonging to the former Wycliffe Community College - one of six schools axed to make way for the super-school in a radical shake-up of Leicester's secondaries.

The children are being taught by volunteer university lecturers, unemployed teachers, students and youth workers.

The parents and pupils staged a sit-in at the city's education headquarters following unsuccessful meetings with education chiefs, New College head Judith Mullen and governors.

Last week they received official home visits warning them of the consequences of their actions.

The parents say that Wycliffe and the other schools should never have been closed. They say New College is too big and have worries about transport, pupil mix and alleged bullying.

Action Group spokeswoman Tracy Woolman said: "We believe in our cause. We want it to be publicly aired in court. We will not be sending our children to the super-school, and we will bring a vigorous and factual defence."

A statement from Leicester education authority said: "A number of people, including the director of education, the leader of the council and the chair of education have met with the parents several times to discuss their concerns. They have made it clear they intend to keep their children off school unless Wycliffe is re-opened."

It is unclear whether other councils will now act against parental groups making similar protests.

Parents in Hull, Manchester and Barnet, north London, have organised alternative classes for their children, claiming standards in the schools to which they have been allocated are not high enough.

Parents of six children in Bromley, south London, are still refusing to send their children to schools up to two hours away.

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