City MP, Gillian Keegan has been a prominent supporter of small primary schools set to close within the Chichester constituency and after months of campaigning to save Rumboldswhyke CofE Infants’ School, the Department for Education announced they are supporting the school to academise with Bishop Luffa.
The decision from the Department for Education to pursue academisation, came after Rumboldswhyke’s proposed closure was referred to the Regional Schools Commissioner.
Mrs Keegan’s involvement was key to securing the future of both Stedham Primary School and Compton and Up Marden CE School which were also previously under threat of closure. The campaign to save Rumboldswhyke seemed lost when the decision to close the school by West Sussex County Council and was passed to the regional commissioner.
The Chichester MP has been involved since the start of the consultation process that began in 2019 when she attended the initial consultation meetings; supporting parents, teachers and the wider community.
Mrs Keegan made several representations to the director of education and Skills, Paul Wagstaff at West Sussex County Council and the council leader, cllr Paul Marshall, to share the views of those fighting to save the school. Following the referral by the county to the commissioner for the region, Mrs Keegan continued by raising her concerns with the commissioners.
After the decision was finally raised to the highest level of Government, the MP met with her colleagues in the Department for Education to make a final plea for academisation over closure.
The Department has now agreed to support the academisation of Rumboldswhyke with Bishop Luffa. Upon hearing the news, Mrs Keegan said: “This has been a long campaign to save a wonderful local school. I got involved to support the community, teachers and parents who have been the energy behind this campaign and without them, we would certainly be in a different place.
“We are very pleased that Bishop Luffa stepped in and put forward a proposal to academise Rumboldswhyke, bringing the school under their wing. Small, often rural, primary schools are a vital part of the education offer in the Chichester constituency. The focus for all of us should be to ensure that all of our children are receiving the best education possible.”