“Don’t let the Tories steal our school”: Kennedy backs re-opening of Ripley Primary School

November 12, 2019 5:58 PM

Paul Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mole Valley, is backing the Friends of Ripley Primary School (FoRPS) campaign to reopen Ripley School, which was controversially closed by Conservative Surrey County Council last year. If elected as Mole Valley's MP, Paul will strongly oppose any attempt to sell off the land for housing.

Paul Kennedy and representatives of the Friends of Ripley Primary School (FoRPS) ()

Paul said: "The closure of Ripley School last year has had a devastating impact on parents, traffic and the community and I would be fully behind the campaign to have this critical village amenity reopened. As Mole Valley's MP, I will also oppose any attempt to sell off the land while there is still such a clear need for a primary school in Ripley."

Paul added: "This is a stark example of the Conservative Government's short-sighted approach to education. Here is a purpose-built school building in the heart of a vibrant village, ready and waiting to be re-opened. Instead Surrey County Council would rather waste millions of tax-payers' money on a huge and unnecessary expansion of Send School in an area which just doesn't have the infrastructure to support extra children."

Background

Five years ago Ripley Primary School was a thriving and popular village school with 170 pupils. But Conservative controlled Surrey County Council systematically ran the school down, failing to appoint a permanent headteacher for 12 consecutive terms, advising parents not to apply, and then closing the school last year. Instead of walking their children to school, parents have been forced to drive many miles to Send School, Raleigh School (West Horsley) and beyond.

Parents were assured at the time of closure that there was no agenda to sell the school for development. However, a proposal is now being prepared to do just that, through an application to the Education Secretary under section 554 of the Education Act. In the near future an application is also expected to expand Send School to accommodate an extra 150 children from the new Garlick's Arch development which is just one mile away from Ripley.

FoRPS continue to manage the school site, which is used by a popular pre-school, ballet school and other educational groups, in accordance with the school's charitable trusts and in readiness for the school's reopening.