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Mum tackles PM over funding threat
1:02pm Monday 29th October 2012 in News
ASKRIGG mother-of-five Kirsten Civil is so angry about the Government’s proposals on school funding that she has written directly to Prime Minister David Cameron, inviting him to visit the area and talk to the parents and children whose lives would be affected.
“I don’t think any of us can fully grasp what a devastating effect this would have on rural communities, not just in Wensleydale but all over the country,” said Kirsten, who moved to Askrigg with husband, Andrew, and their family seven years ago.
“It’s not just about schools, but about whole communities.”
In an impassioned plea to the Government to rethink the proposals, which would mean funds being allocated almost solely on pupil numbers, Kirsten, whose children attend nursery, primary and secondary schools in the area, said Wensleydale is in danger of becoming a museum, not a living community.
“What argument, line of persuasion or expression can begin to describe the depths of despair, disbelief and anger that overwhelms me when I read in all three school newsletters of the threat to the future of each school?” she wrote. “Our schools are the heart of our communities. They provide education and friendship, give our children a sense of place and belonging, hope to the isolated and elderly, and provide vital jobs in rural areas.”
Kirsten currently has four part-time jobs, all of them carefully scheduled to revolve around her children’s school times. She believes the implications of the proposals have not been thought through and that by the time people realise the devastating effect they will have, as rural schools are forced to close, it will be too late to do anything about it. She invited the Prime Minister to visit schools in Wensleydale to see for himself the problems they would face.
Like others, including headteachers in the area, Kirsten believes the funding proposals are aimed at small, failing, schools in densely-populated urban areas.
“They don’t seem to grasp that our schools are small, not because they’re failing or unpopular, but because they serve scattered rural communities,” she said.