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Colchester: It's not over yet
Campaigners today vowed to battle on amid fears education chiefs will push ahead with plans to close three Colchester secondary schools.
Proposals by Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield, unveiled today, recommend the closure of Alderman Blaxill, Thomas, Lord Audley (TLA) and Sir Charles Lucas schools.
The county council would replace Sir Charles Lucas with an academy with a military emphasis, while TLA would be transformed into a vocational school, and pupils from the south of Colchester would be taken to an extended Stanway School.
Rumours about the plans, which followed a consultation and a host of well-attended public meetings last year, have been circulating the town all week. Sources who contacted the Gazette last night said they would fight any proposal to close Alderman Blaxill and TLA if that was put on the table.
If the recommendation is approved by the county council’s cabinet on Tuesday, a second consultation, lasting six weeks, on the revised plans will start next month.
The proposals are similar to the “Option 1” originally outlined by Lord Hanningfield, and largely reject the popular “Option 4” – to amalgamate Stanway, Alderman Blaxill and TLA into one school at three sites, led by headteacher Jonathan Tippett.
Town MP Bob Russell said he feared hundreds of people who had sent letters and signed petitions opposing school closures had been ignored.
- More in today's Gazette