Nestling in the hills of Cheshire's spectacular mid-Cheshire sandstone ridge in my constituency is the vibrant community of Harthill and its surrounding villages. It has a wonderful local school. Under a programme called TLC—a misnomer, as it is anything but tender loving care; it is the transforming learning communities programme of the local education authority—the school is trying to meet the surplus places requirements of the Government's ill thought through strategy, which is putting at threat an absolutely outstanding school.
The petition of more than 840 residents of Harthill and the neighbouring villages—almost 100 per cent. of the people eligible to sign—states:
The Petition of the residents of Harthill and neighbouring villages declares that the decision of Cheshire County Council to consider the closure of Harthill School is wrong and that by doing so the Council would deprive the community of a viable and much valued and high achieving educational and community asset whilst giving rise to overcrowding in schools in surrounding areas. This is at odds with the commitments made by the Department for Education and Skills to seek to 'strengthen the place of schools at the heart of their communities', and the new duty placed upon local authorities to 'promote choice, diversity and fair access to school places and school transport' as stated in the Five Year Strategy for Children and Learners.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons shall urge the Department for Education and Skills to reconsider the decision to consider the closure of Harthill School and to direct Cheshire County Council to allow it to remain open.
And the petitioners remain, etc.
To lie upon the Table.