Paper's campaign saves local school from closure

The Middleton & North Manchester Guardian has won a campaign to save one of the smallest – and most successful – primary schools in the Rochdale borough.

Last November, Rochdale local education authority announced plans to close St John’s C of E Primary School in the village of Thornham, near Middleton.

The school has just 70 pupils on its roll but is one of the highest-achieving primaries in the borough.

The Middleton Guardian immediately launched a campaign, Save St John’s, winning the backing of parents, governors and teachers – as well as its readers.

But the LEA claimed the school’s performance was “below average” and wanted to close it on economic grounds. However, St John’s had received high praise in an Ofsted report.

The Middleton Guardian’s campaign, spearheaded by chief reporter Dave Edwards and news editor Ava Soe, drummed up strong public support for St John’s.

Because of the opposition to the proposed closure, the LEA’s decision was referred to the independent Office of the Schools Adjudicator, which concluded that the points it had made to justify the closure were unconvincing and rejected the move.

Soe said: “We are very much a paper for the community. It looked like St John’s was a lost cause, but we were determined to support the people fighting to keep the school open because it is a damned good school.

There was overwhelming support from the public.”

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