Locals in Kingswear are campaigning to keep their local school open even though at the moment it has no pupils and the building has been temporarily mothballed.

Education South West has contacted the Secretary of State for Education to request that the school be closed.

Parish, District and County Cllr Jonathan Hawkins says: “Just five or six years ago we had around 80 pupils and were looking to build an extra classroom.

“Since then the numbers have been falling with around 14 on the role last school year and none at all this year.”

Cllr Hawkins explains why he thinks the numbers declined: “Kingswear is very expensive with lots of second homes and very little social housing.

“I have lived in the village all my life and local people are being driven out by the high prices.

Anthony Mangnall MP gave his support to keeping the school open saying: “As Kingswear residents will know, I am hugely disappointed to learn that Education South West submitted a request to close the school, and have been in regular contact with the Department for Education to explore what options might be available.

I would therefore encourage all local residents to take part in the consultation and submit their feedback.”

The closure of an academy school follows a six-stage process- consideration of closure, seeking in principle agreement, in principle decision to close, seeking a substantive decision on closure by the Secretary of State, substantive closure decision by the Secretary of State, followed by a ‘Listening Period’ held by the Academy Trust and finally approval and implementation of closure.

The Department for Education has already received an in principle decision from the minister to close Kingswear Primary School (Stage 3)

Chair of Kingswear Parish Council and an experienced teacher herself Cllr Lynn Maurer said:

“I’m very sad about this situation. The school was vibrant, friendly and really successful.

“It’s true that the demographic has changed but the school needs a minimum number of pupils to be viable, say around 50, so I hope parents from surrounding areas ask to send their children there.

“There is a lot of anger and frustration that the school has closed which is understandable.”

Education South West, as the academy trust for Kingswear Primary School, will conduct a Listening Period following any substantive decision on closure.

Devon County Council welcome views on the proposed closure as well as comments from stakeholders and other interested parties on issues such as transport to other schools should the decision be taken to close Kingswear.

You can respond to Devon County Council by: emailing [email protected]

or by post to: Shona Meek, School Place Planning, Room 120, Devon County Council, County Hall, Topsham Road, Exeter, Devon, EX2 4QG.

All responses must be received by the closing date of March 22.