THE decision to close Parkfield School was announced once it was finalised by the Department for Education, the trust that runs the school has said.

As reported, the school announced its plans to close on Friday, June 14, fewer than six weeks before the end of term.

The closure and the timing of the announcement were met with anger by parents and members of the community.

Former Christchurch MP, Sir Christopher Chope, previously told the Daily Echo he was ‘frankly very angry’ at the announcement being made during the general election period.

Sir Christopher said he had spoken about the closure with the minister, Gillian Keegan, but had been told there was nothing he could do as he was no longer an MP due to the election period.

Parent of three pupils at the school, Laura Fullock, said: “I and many others are disgusted with the governing body Reach South, they have sent this school downhill since taking over, treating staff and PFA with contempt, now deciding they really can't be bothered anymore and close down with just a few weeks’ notice for all three of my children to find elsewhere.”

Reach South Academy Trust said the decision is one that ‘only ministers can take’, and so it was only announced when the DfE had finalised it.

A spokesperson for Reach South said: “We understand that this news has been unsettling for everyone involved, and our decision to recommend to ministers that the school should close was not one that we took easily.

“DfE processes around a proposed closure take time to work through - as is only right for a decision of this importance.

“The decision is ultimately one that only ministers can take, and until that decision was finalised, we were not in a position to share information.

“However, as soon as we had the agreement of all parties to communicate the decision, we shared the news with our families and our staff.

“We have been in close contact with BCP throughout the process and will continue to do everything we can to support families and staff as we move through the process.

“All staff members are being offered individual sessions with members of our HR team.

“These sessions will include discussing their positions and identifying any support they may need. We are fully committed to providing support to all staff members at what is a difficult time.”