6th Dec, 2016

LOOK: Pupils stage protest over plans to close Woodlands Academy

Coventry Editorial 3rd Mar, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

PUPILS skipped lessons and formed a picket line this morning (Thursday) to protest the closure of their school.

Students at all-boys school Woodlands Academy on Broad Lane took to the pavement outside the school this morning to protest against its upcoming merger with nearby Tile Hill Wood School for girls.

The proposals were confirmed to parents via the school website earlier this week after rumours of the closure had circulated round social media.

An online petition has now been launched by students Georgina Toon and Kris Roscoe on www.change.org calling for Woodlands Academy school to remain open.

Having already garnered over 2,700 signatures – including from former pupil and England rugby star Tom Wood – the petition reads: “Although to a lot of people, this won’t seem like such a bad idea, no one thinks about the students and teachers who will suffer from this.

“Parents choose to send their children to these individual schools as they offer single sex education. Mixing these school’s together will mean a mixed gender education, many of which parent’s do not want.

“From our experiences, both our parents sent us to these separate school’s due to the fact they were single sexed.

“Woodlands school has been open since 21 September 1954, that’s 62 years, coming to the end of an era is upsetting but also unnecessary. ”

Concerned parent Chris Quinney told the Observer his year seven son Max, who started at Woodlands Academy in September, has only just begun to settle in when the news broke.

Mr Quinney added: “Going to senior school is a big step, but now it is like he’s going to have to go through the same thing all over again.

“Max was coming home asking us questions that we could not answer because the school had not told us about the plans.

“It’s heartbreaking as a parent not being able to answer your upset child’s questions.”

Woodlands Academy headteacher Dr Roger Harris sent a letter to parents confirming the two schools would merge to form a new West Coventry Academy.

In response to today’s protests, Dr Harris issued another letter that praised the behaviour of the students despite being unable to personally condone the protest.

Mr Quinney said despite telling Max not to join the protest, he was proud to see him stood there with the other boys.

He added: “I thought fair play to Max and the other boys showing how passionate they are about the school.

“Some parents chose specifically to send their children to a single sex school.

“There seems to be more and more choice in the city if you want to go to a religious school, but no options left if you want single-sex education.

“At a time when the council are fining parents for taking their children out of schools because it causes too much disruption, I can’t see a more disrupting action that closing a school.”