School's last hurrah will be the "worst day ever" as "reality has hit" of closure

Reporter:

David Humphreys

Updated all day, every day: www.leaderlive.co.uk

The “reality has hit” devastated parents that a battle to save a high school is over and the doors will close for a final time.

On Thursday, John Summers High School in Queensferry will end its summer term and its final cohort of pupils will leave for the very last time.

Speaking as learners began to see out their remaining school days at the doomed site, Donna Edwards – who campaigned tirelessly with action group members to keep the high
school open – said “the worst day ever” lay ahead, with emotions still running high over the “horrible decision” to close the school.

After a lengthy battle, the school’s closure was ratified in August last year by Kirsty Williams AM, the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Education – subject to conditions being met over the development of an alternative school.

Millions of pounds is to be pumped into Connah’s Quay High School to overhaul the Golftyn Lane location ahead of its intake of pupils from John Summers next term.

The Save John Summers action group lobbied councillors, MPs and AMs throughout to try and keep the doors open, but to no avail.

Reflecting on the events that led to the impending closure, Donna said: “Everyone in the community is sad.

“At the open day, the action group and parents just sat around outside, lost. It was a weird feeling.

“The group, teachers, pupils and parents are still very angry over this horrible decision.

“The kids who have left are moving on, but the ones that are still there love John Summers.

“It’s very sad.”

When Flintshire Council members initially voted to close the school in August 2015, council leader Aaron Shotton – who fought for the school in 2011 and made a policy commitment in 2012 to make a business case for a new school – said the decision was the most “awful, dreadful decision” any council could face, as well as an illustration of the austerity across the country.

Mrs Edwards said there was a real sense of loss ahead of Thursday.

“It’s going to be the worst day ever,” she said.

“The children are lost, they’ve got no choice but to move on.

“It’s like a little family at the school but the reality has hit that it will close and we don’t know what will happen next.

“John Summers has just always been there.”

Mrs Edwards added some youngsters were struggling to adjust, saying they were “depressed” by the changes.

She said: “The ones that are left are in a right mess.

“The teachers are working hard and it’s quite sad.

“They’re just trying to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible for them.”

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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