A CITY Catholic primary school will be closed due to falling pupil numbers, it has been decided.
Liverpool City Council’s Executive Board voted yesterday to shut St Francis of Assisi school, in Garston, after a plan to amalgamate it with two other schools in the area failed.
Executive director Stuart Smith had recommended to councillors that the Garston area of the city “cannot sustain two Catholic primary schools”.
The school had 71 surplus places at the start of the 2007-2008 school year – 42% of its total availability.
In a report, Mr Smith said: “The authority has been concerned about falling school rolls, associated budget difficulties and teacher competence at the school since 2004”.
In 2005, a local authority review concluded the school was “failing to provide a satisfactory quality of education for pupils”
A proposed “federation” of St Francis of Assisi, Holy Trinity Catholic and Garston C of E schools, seen as a step towards the establishment of a single, joint-faith school in Garston, had been proposed for the start of this school year but did not materialise.
Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, Phil Fitzpatrick, chair of governors at St Francis of Assisi, said: “We thought the vision was strong. We wanted to have that one federated school, we believed that was best for the people of Garston.
“I just feel the opportunities of the last two years have been missed.”
Taking the vote, city council leader Cllr Warren Bradley said: “It is never easy to agree to a school closure”.
Cllr Peter Millea backed the school and said: “I am not going to stand for the reduction of Catholic education in the Garston area.”
There were 144 surplus places in Catholic primary schools in the Speke-Garston ward.
The school will now shut in August next year. All parents will be offered a place for their child at Holy Trinity Catholic primary school and be free to seek admission to any other school with free places.