A protest march will be staged through Whitby tomorrow as Eskdale School campaigners make it clear to the county council that they are not giving up on their school without a fight.
Meeting at the iconic Whitby Abbey at 1pm, the protest will make its way along Church Lane, down the famous 199 Steps, along Church Street, over Whitby Swing Bridge, up Swing Bridge, up Baxtergate, onto Wellington Road, crossing past the Station car park and finishing at Dock End next to the Tourist Information Centre where the demonstration will continue.
It is the first time in years that a protest has been held in the town. Celebrity singer Alistair Griffin will also be attending and Eskdale supporters are calling on the rest of the town to get behind them.
A spokesperson for the Fight To Save Eskdale Campaign Group said: “We think it may have been some time since the people of Whitby felt so passionately as to do a march. This shows the overwhelming feeling of support for the school in the town. The county council seemingly, rely on apathy to push their schemes through. We are showing them we are not prepared to lie down and let this happen.
“It will also be a chance for everyone supporting Eskdale to meet together and have a voice. This is especially important for the pupils as it will make them feel proactive in helping in the fight to save the school. We hope to get good publicity and show that it is another way we can express how much we need to have choice in our town.”
It follows the handing over of a 5,000 signature petition to education boss Pete Dwyer and Cllr Arthur Barker at county council headquarters in Northallerton on Monday. The campaign has also gathered enough support to warrant a public debate.
However, despite overwhelming public objection and a fierce campaign by parents, pupils and staff to save their school the council is moving forward with the merger plan.
The group said it was “very disappointed” but remained committed to the cause.
l Formal consultation will start on February 16 when a consultation document will be online offering three possible outcomes :
l Proceed with the next stage of consultation on the proposal as it stands
l Amend the proposal in the light of consultation
l Take no further action
l Results of the consultation will be put before a meeting on April 26
l Should it be decided to go ahead with what is already on the table then a final call will be made on June 14
l The enlarged Caedmon will start its first term in September of this year on all three sites
l Students will be brought together on Caedmon’s Scoresby and Normanby sites from September 2017