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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Group holds summit at top of country’s highest peak

PROTESTORS from Cumbria’s smallest school scaled England’s tallest mountain to draw attention to their plight.

A group of 15 campaigners, hoping to save Captain Shaw’s School in Bootle from closure, scaled the 3209 ft Scafell Pike on Saturday.

There is just a month to go before a crunch meeting which could see Cumbria County Council withdraw financial support for the school.

In November, the council unveiled proposals to close the school, which has just 16 pupils, and merge the Captain Shaw’s catchment area with that of neighbouring Waberthwaite School.

A statutory notice of closure was published on February 17 after a call-in on the decision heard on February 6 failed.

The campaigners gathered at Wasdale Head at around 10.30am on Saturday before ascending the mountain and unfurling their banners in a bid to send a clear message to Cumbria County Council.

The event was organised by Bootle resident Tim Miles who previously organised a march through the village.

He said: “The idea was to highlight the plight of the smallest school on the highest mountain.

“We wanted to show the council what we are willing to do to save it.”

The group managed to collect around 70 signatures to support their petition against the closure of the school while on the mountain. The school’s mascot Boo the bear joined campaigners along with seven-year-old pupil Jack Tyson and 12-year-old former pupil Savannah Harrison.

Jack said: “I went up to save the school.

“I enjoyed it – I’m not even tired.”

Campaigners gathered in St Mary’s Reading Room following the march where they enjoyed soup and contemplated the next step in the campaign.

Councillor Steve Dalton, a member of Bootle Parish Council, was among the marchers.

He said: “We moved to Bootle in 2003 on the basis there was a school.

“Our two girls have come through the school – without that we would not have moved into the village.

“Small is beautiful.

“What the county council doesn’t realise is it’s ripping the heart out of the village.”

Parent Keith Harrison also joined the march.

He said: “I went up to support the school. We don’t get listened to by the county council – this was about the smallest school standing tall on England’s highest mountain.”

“They are not looking at the long-term – they are going to have to build a power station and housing for around 5,000 workers.

“In four or five years there will not be enough places at Waberthwaite.”

The school's future is due to be discussed at the next county council cabinet meeting on April 12.

Have your say

What an amazing group of people,heroes one and all.I just hope Cumbria County Council take notice of this brave community and keep Captain Shaw's school open.

Posted by Lyn Edwards on 19 March 2012 at 18:46

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