High Court Rules That Council Plans For School Closure Can Continue

Croxteth Community Comprehensive School to close in September

23.07.2009

Campaigners to keep an inner-city school in Liverpool open have expressed disappointment at today’s High Court’s ruling which upholds the Council’s decision to close Croxteth Community Comprehensive School with effect from September 2009.

Campaigners, represented by national law firm Irwin Mitchell, argued that the School is essential to the cohesion of the area but Mr Justice Silber, confirming his duty was “to apply legal principles” and not to decide an appeal against closure, found after careful consideration that the judicial review should be dismissed. There are no plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

Andrew Lockley, Head of Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law Department, said: "The unity of pupils, parents and school throughout this process has been impressive, demonstrating the strength of feeling in the community. It is extremely disappointing for everyone that the decision to close the school was not overturned.

"However, we are pleased that, following recommendations from the judge, the council have agreed to provide adequate transport to take all Croxteth pupils, and their siblings to Fazakerley High School for the remainder until they reach statutory school leaving age. The need for safe transport out of Croxteth was a major issue for parents and children."

"Whilst we are pleased that, following recommendations from the judge, the Council have agreed to provide transport to take all displaced Croxteth pupils and their siblings to Fazakerley High School for the remainder of their statutory school age, we remained concerned that this does not go far enough, and that younger children in the area are left with inadequate arrangements for travel to School."

Richard Baker, head teacher at Croxteth Community Comprehensive, said: “I am saddened and disappointed at this decision. Students, parents, carers and staff will be devastated by this news and I fear for the impact, in the future, upon community cohesion in the area.”

This was the first time that a judicial review has been heard in Liverpool. This follows the regionalization of such court challenges, which until earlier this year, had to be dealt with in London. This enabled a large number of pupils and parents to attend the Hearing, a point to which Mr Justice Silber referred to within his Judgement, stating that he was left with no doubt that many people in the area were ‘troubled by the plans of the Council to close the School’.

Mr Justice Silber complimented the campaigners who attended the hearing on the ‘dignified’ and ‘impressive’ way in which they listened to legal submissions.