Plan to close The Deanes School in Essex backed

Protesters in Chelmsford Campaigners opposed to the closure have previously protested outside council offices

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Plans to close an Essex high school - hit by falling pupil numbers - have been backed by councillors.

Essex County Council's cabinet committee decided to close The Deanes School in Thundersley, after being told by officers it was not "viable" with 600 pupils and 418 spare places.

A council report said closing the school will cost up to £6.87m.

The report says the cost of replacing it with a smaller school would cost £10.5m.

Parents opposing the plans have pointed to the school's good rating from the education watchdog Ofsted.

But the report says that despite a good Ofsted rating, parents are preferring to send their children to The Appleton School and The King John School, which received outstanding Ofsted reports.

Ray Gooding, cabinet member for education, said: "We fully appreciate all representations gathered by parents, the school, borough and unitary councils, community groups and any other interested parties, however, we must take out the emotion and look purely at fact.

"The school's roll is falling and the numbers choosing it as a first choice are minimal.

"The school isn't viable and as numbers drop the budget will reduce."

Basildon Council deputy leader Phil Turner said last month: "Every consultation from everybody you want to ask will say, 'keep the school open,' and it's not just people's feelings."

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