Outrage over Manchester City Council plans to close Ewing School
Imagine being part of a successful football team, winning every trophy imaginable and being forced to split that winning team by the FA. Picture the prospect of your teammates being split into ninths.
As part of Manchester City Council’s plans to improve integration with mainstream schools within its boundaries, is a proposal to downgrade and close two special schools within Didsbury. One school is going to lose its secondary school classes, the other is going to close completely. The latter one is Ewing School, the school I attended from January 1987 to July 1990.
I could cope with the mighty Stalybridge Celtic losing 6-1 to Durham City, spend hours on rail replacement buses from Hell. These are minor compared with this recent development. This development interferes with people’s lives at a fundamental level rather one’s peeves.
I am always happy to talk at length or write about my time at Ewing, and claim that Ewing School, not my secondary school, was the one which helped me the most. What helped were the small classes (18 was the biggest class number) and the high pupil to teacher ratio (4 pupils to 1 teacher). I also enjoyed being able to go to different places on a weekly basis along with my fellow peers. It is thanks also to Ewing School that I am able to appreciate the countryside, enjoy walks and travel independently by bus, train and tram.
Ewing School already has a proven record in enabling pupils to settle in mainstream schools long afterwards. So much that there is a waiting list and people moving to South Manchester so their child can be taught by their specialist teaching staff. Instead of keeping up the good work, the council wishes to break up that successful team.
They propose that its students would be dispersed into 9 ‘havens’ within existing mainstream schools. How do you tell the pupils that their best friend will be moving to a haven in Moston if he/she will be moving to one in Gorton? Will the Ewing staff leave the profession altogether rather than join one of the havens, resulting in a loss of specialist personnel? Any move away from the status quo would cause chaos with parents and their children already satisfied with Ewing School.
As a former pupil, I am totally against the plans. This is an issue shared by Manchester Withington MP John Leech (Liberal Democrats) who in December last year submitted an Early Day Motion favouring its retention. I have written a letter to him.
A petition against the closure will be launched on Saturday 17th January 2009. The rally and launch will take place in West Didsbury between 12.00pm – 2.00pm. If you can make it, please do, especially if you live in the constituency, or linked with Ewing School, as for example a former teacher or pupil.
S.V., 15 January 2009