School protesters out in force in Thrapston

Protesters march through Thrapston to oppose plans to switch to a two-tier education system
Protesters march through Thrapston to oppose plans to switch to a two-tier education system

More than 300 marchers took to the streets of Thrapston on Saturday in a protest over plans to switch to a new type of education system which could result in the closure of the town’s King John School.

Education bosses at Northamptonshire County Council want to switch from the current three-tier system which operates in Thrapston and Oundle, to a two-tier one which would bring the towns in line with the rest of the county. However, a protest group opposed to the plans has been set up in Thrapston – saying that it does not make sense to close the King John School and have Thrapston, a growing town, served by just one school.

Susie Woods, one of the campaigners, said: “The attendance was overwhelming and speaks for itself.

“Thank you to the encouragement from the High Street shops and shoppers who have little to gain from the move.

“They worry there will be a drop in footfall within the High Street affecting local shops, cafes and other establishments and the local community alike if the switch goes ahead.”

The county council plan would see children move directly from Thrapston and Oundle Primary Schools to the Prince William School in Oundle.

Kings Cliffe School, in Oundle, is already earmarked for closure.

Mrs Woods added: “The plans would mean that the children currently in the ‘good with outstanding features’ King John School would be required to be transported on buses on an already congested road network two years early and to an upper school which currently ‘requires improvement’. The change would be devastating and cause disruption to many children for many years to come.”

Mrs Woods also thanked police officers and special constables for their help in stewarding Saturday’s protest march.

Thrapston Primary School’s governing body last week spoke out in favour of the switch to two-tier.

They say that the move will help the town attract better staff, who are not keen on working in a three-tier system, and that it will ensure that children in Thrapston will continue to have access to a primary school in the town.