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Parents of children attending Torrevieja´s Ciudad de Oviedo infant and primary schools received notification this week of the news they had both been dreading and fighting against.

The Department of Education has notified the parents that they must start to look for alternative schools for their children for the academic year of 2014 to 2015, as their school will be dismantled.

Protests had taken place in early January, when the parents also criticised the lack of information from the town hall. The school had been operating largely out of “temporary” portacabin units, but was set to close as part of previously reported promises to reduce the number of these types of classes, by creating larger groups.

The mayor of Torrevieja, Eduardo Dolón had said that the closure of the school was as a result of the reduction of students, which, in his view, made it impossible to keep open. He also accused the school board has not showing concern over this matter, stating that he had called a meeting with the Municipal School Board in late December in order for them to submit arguments against this decision, but “no one came”. Dolón had also criticized other political groups of using the school for political gain.

However, following the protests, Dolón, convened an urgent meeting in which it was agreed unanimously by all political parties represented in the City Council to fight to keep the school open.

Now, as the enrolment period opens for the next year, some 266 children will have to relocate to other schools, the most likely being the newly renovated school at Acequión, where 9 classrooms are currently not being used.

As part of the education department´s commitment to reduce temporary buildings, the class sizes are being increased, accommodating more children into each group, which many feel are both detrimental to the quality of learning, but also put the jobs of teachers at risk.

Dolón had met with the protesters in a recent gathering outside the town hall, appealing for calm, telling the protestors that he was still waiting for an answer from the education ministry regarding the future of the school.

Coordinator of the Izquierda Unida, Marga Sanz, described the closure as “barbaric” and “without justification”, pointing out that this will leave an entire community without a school, whilst pointing out that 80% of those who currently attend this centre are immigrants, and they will become increasingly at risk of “dropping out” of education, as their needs are less likely to be met in larger groups, and in schools far away from their homes.

The parents have already expressed their “total rejection” of the closure and have announced further protests, including a manifestation at the Valencia government buildings.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/42851/

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