SIR Christopher Chope has expressed his anger and frustration at the announcement that Parkfield School is set to close.

The Christchurch MP until May 30 when parliament was dissolved, Sir Christopher said he was ‘very sad’ at the announcement, which was made on Friday afternoon.

As reported, the school wrote to parents to say that all year groups aside from those heading into Year 11 would close, with those pupils continuing to complete their GCSEs.

Sir Christopher said: “I'm very sad about it and I'm frankly very angry that this has been announced during the general election and that it's not therefore possible for the member of parliament to make representations to the minister or to raise in the House of Commons.

“I'm also disappointed that as of now, there are a whole lot of parents and their children who don't know which school they're going to go to in September.”

Sir Christopher Chope

The now-Conservative parliamentary candidate said there was ‘a big issue about the lack of transparency’ in the decision.

“It's been talked about by the Department for Education for some weeks,” he said.

“I received a phone call out of the blue from some official about three weeks ago, I think it was, and following which I immediately sent a letter to the minister to which I never had a reply.

“When I spoke to the minister, she said that because we were in the general election, she couldn't discuss these things, and officials have said that I had no status because I'm not the MP.”

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He said that discussions had ‘been going on for some time’ but had not involved ‘the people who really count’.

“Where we are now is they say they've got a so-called period of reflection for 28 days but I'm pretty sceptical about all that as to what that might do,” Sir Christopher said.

“My view is that because the school is going to stay open until the end of next year to deal with the people who are in their first year of GCSE's at the moment, so they finish off their GCSE's next year, is that why the mad rush to try and close it down for everybody else before the end of this term when they could easily have left this until September or whenever?”

He added that he feels ‘basically helpless’ and ‘unable to help people I want to help’ over the situation.

“It should never have got to this stage, as I understand it, and it’s implicit in the letter that was sent out by the school, there may have been alternative ways of dealing with this,” Sir Christopher said.

“That's all very vague and why aren't we being kept in the picture as to what else could it be done?”

He added: “We're in the dark and now I'm in a situation where I can't speak to any officials because they say there's a general election.

“The whole idea of a general election, purdah, is that people shouldn't be taking controversial decisions.”