Campaigners gather at the gates of Whitby’s Eskdale School to object to closure proposals

Campaigners hoping to save Whitby’s Eskdale School from closure have gathered at the school gates to object to proposals which may see Eskdale amalgamate with Caedmon College Whitby.
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It was announced last week that North Yorkshire County Council has been approached by Whitby Secondary Partnership to begin a period of consultation to consider the proposal, a decision on whether the consultation should go ahead is scheduled for February 7.

It is not the first time Eskdale parents have battled such proposals – in 2016, a decision on whether to shut the school was suspended by North Yorkshire County Council following extensive campaigning.

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Around 50 pupils and parents gathered at the school gates to show their support for the current arrangement, most expressing pupil choice as their biggest concern over the plans.

Campaigners gather at the school gatesCampaigners gather at the school gates
Campaigners gather at the school gates

More than 900 people have signed an online petition objecting to the merger, and further signatures have been collected on printed petitions in various locations around the town.

Petition creator, Terri-Anne Jones, who was part of the campaign to save Eskdale School in 2016, said: “I can’t believe we are here again. The two schools are totally different. Whitby is a town of two halves and each school has their own issues.

“Caedmon are struggling to feed the students they’ve got already in the lunch hour - how is adding more going to help?”

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Parent Linda Bennison said: “My son moved here in year seven, after lockdown, he doesn’t speak much to anyone and if we have to change schools again it will knock him even more.”

Around 50 parents and pupils gathered at the school gatesAround 50 parents and pupils gathered at the school gates
Around 50 parents and pupils gathered at the school gates

Jasper Bennison said: “Pretty much the only 40mph limit in any of the nearby towns is over the new bridge in Whitby, which goes past two schools, adding more pupils to that area would be crazy.”

Pupil Olivia Harvey said: “I started in year seven and made lots of friends, I love the school, the teachers are really friendly. I wanted a choice of school and I chose Eskdale. They’re taking away our choice.”

Olivia’s mother, Alex Harvey said: “It needs a proper period of consultation of a year or so, where everyone puts their ideas forward.”