Guernsey parents criticise pool closure plan

Robert Sillars
Image caption Deputy Robert Sillars said some pools were being maintained but not used

More than 100 parents have signed a petition against the partial closure of a school swimming pool.

Hautes Capelles Primary School pool will shut for six months of the year as part of cost saving plans by the Education Department.

Margaret Honey runs a swimming school and said the closure would damage children's ability to learn to swim.

Education Minister Robert Sillars said the pools were not being used all year round.

He said: "The pools are being chlorinated and being heated, but the reality is they are not being used."

Ms Honey said the decision would ruin her business.

Under the plans all primary school pools will be open for 12 weeks of the 38 week school year, except at Hautes Capelles and Forest, where they will open for six months and all year respectively.

The pool at the special needs Link Centre, which will be renamed Les Voies School from September, will also open for 12 weeks and the pool at the Grammar School will open for one term.

Alan Brown, director of education, said learning to swim was an important skill, especially living on an island, but the cost of maintaining and operating the pools was almost £500,000 each year.

The Education Department has been tasked with saving £7.2m by 2014 as part of the financial transformation programme.

Under the programme the States has committed to identifying £31m of annual savings from its overall budget by the end of 2014.

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