Peak school wins the battle, but fears a war

"IT IS a battle won, but not the war," was the reaction from one delighted parent this week after Combs Infants School was saved from closure.

Members of Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet agreed with an officer's recommendation to keep the school open when they met on Tuesday.

Campaigners, who have spent the last six months fighting the plans, were delighted with the decision, but feel there is still more work to be done.

Parent Carah Boden said: "It is a battle won, but not the war. We need to try and stabilise the situation. Now all this is behind us, we need to ensure its ongoing future."

Chair of governors Nye Rowlands added: "We need to move on from this decision, and work with Derbyshire Council to remedy the damage that has been done by their threat to close the school.

"The cabinet said that if you put a lot of money into a school, it is going to be excellent but if you look around Derbyshire, Cheshire or the rest of the country, putting a lot of money into schools does not bring excellence. Being in the top ten per cent of schools in the country, Combs Infant School didn't achieve that through money. It achieved it through the standards of the teachers.

"We have now got to generate an even closer relationship with the community who are very much part of the school. They have stood by us and supported us and the parents have stood by us.

"This has proved a cause which everybody can unite behind."

High Peak Borough councillor Andrew Bingham has supported the campaign group for several months. He said: "There is still a war to be fought and I feel sure that the council will probably revisit the matter again given half a chance.

"When that will be I don't know.

"I'd like to pay tribute to the campaign group for everything they did. Education committe chairman Alan Charles mentioned it had been a well constructed and polite campaign and that is a tribute to the people who have organised it."

Derbyshire County Councillor Barrie Taylor, who represents the Whaley and Blackbrook ward, which covers Combs, added: "I'd like to thank everybody who ran the most impressive campaign in support of the school, which has brought all the community together."

The campaign group are holding a celebration at the school on November 9 to thank everyone who has been involved in the fight.

For more information, see www.save-combs-school.org.uk.