PUPILS, who could see their school closed by the county council following a damning Ofsted report joined a protest highlighting their plight.
Some 400 Reading youngsters could lose out if Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common is close by Oxfordshire County Council.
The students joined parents and teachers protesting the plans to close the Reade's Lane school on Saturday, May 13.
The future of Chiltern Edge School was brought into doubt at the end of April when an Ofsted report found it to be 'inadequate'.
The shock grading prompted Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to hold a consultation into whether the school would shut.
Protestors waving placards and baring 'Save our Edge' t-shirts gathered in St Martin's Precinct to fight for its continued operation.
Parent and co-founder of the campaign Gemma Levy said: “We have come out to show a bit of support for Chiltern Edge.
“We don't dispute the Ofsted report and there are issues with the school that need good, strong leadership to sort out, but closing the school is not a solution."
A petition objecting to the closure currently has more than 2,000 signatures.
Amongst the concerns of parents is where former Chiltern Edge pupils would be educated instead, and how the growing population of Sonning Common will be served if it closes.
Ian Hatton, parent of year 8 pupil Emily, said: “We have always seen very good behaviour from the children and commitment from the teachers.
“When I pick up the kids all seem very happy.”
Dave Robinson, one of the protestors said: "I'm an ex-parent at CES and i taught threre for 30 years until I retired last year.
"I'm ehre with all these other parents in support of Chiltern Edge School we believe that closure is not an option.
"We believe Chiltern Edge has the capacity to improve under new leadership and a suitable academy sponsor.
"We believe if Chiltern Edge closes it will have a disastrous effect on the local community, it will have a disastrous effect on all the staff, on all the pupils and paernts and the other schools in the area."
The OCC consultation runs until June 16.
Visit www.change.org/p/oxfordshire-local-authority-save-chiltern-edge-school-from-closure to sign the petition.
THE LEADER of the borough council slammed a neighbouring authority after being left in the dark over the future of hundreds of children.
Jo Lovelock warned at least 400 Reading-based children could be at risk after a failing school was slammed by the education watchdog.
Chiltern Edge, in Sonning Common, could be shut down and Oxfordshire County Council recently launched a consultation on its future.
Cllr Lovelock was furious OCC did not consult Reading Borough Council (RBC) beforehand, but council bosses insist they had to act "swiftly".
She said: "Parents of children at Chiltern Edge School were shocked to receive a letter inviting them to take part in a consultation about possible closure of the school in April.
"Although Chiltern Edge is beyond Reading Borough’s boundaries, in Sonning Common, nearly 400 Reading children could be affected by events at the school.
"I am disappointed that Oxfordshire had not asked to meet with us before they announced this consultation."
Ofsted inspectors visited the Reade's Lane school in March and rated it as 'inadequate'.
They found the standard of teaching to be well below expectation and governors were deemed ineffective.
Children were also heard swearing and teachers were not disciplining their behaviour.
But Cllr Lovelock insisted RBC will do all it can to save the school from closure.
She added: "Reading’s Labour Council will be doing all we can to keep Chiltern Edge open. I have written to the leader of Oxfordshire County Council asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the situation.
"Campaigners believe the closure of Chiltern Edge would be a devastating loss to the pupils and the local community on both sides of the county boundary.
"More than 1,700 parents, teachers and pupils, both past and present, have already signed an online petition calling for the school to remain open.
"The common sense approach is to work with the school to help it make the improvements that Ofsted have recommended and that is what should happen.
"Let us hope Oxfordshire County Council listens to parents and the local community and puts an end to the worry this is causing so many families in Reading and South Oxfordshire."
However, Lucy Butler, director of children's services at OCC, said the council had to act quickly and get the consultation out as soon as possible.
She said RBC were welcome to take part in the consultation process, which will end on June 2016.
She added: “There are a number of serious issues raised by the Ofsted report and the council’s priority is ultimately to ensure good educational opportunities are available to local families. That’s why we have acted swiftly in seeking views on the school’s future.
“It’s important to stress at this stage that no decisions have been taken. We would encourage everyone with an interest in the provision of good quality education for children in the local area to take part in the consultation.”