West Sussex County Council has rejected the call-in request by Cllr Michael Jones and the Labour Group over the decision to close small schools including Rumboldswhyke School in Chichester.

Cllr Jones said of the decision, “With this rejection, sadly we have exhausted all the ways to internally challenge the Cabinet’s decision to close the schools.

“Not only is this very unsatisfying and not particularly democratic, it once again highlights how this county council fails to take sufficient regard to people’s concerns on some very important issues.

“I also disagree that legal arguments are not something for councillors to scrutinise. Indeed, it just makes it likelier decisions will go through with less than a robust case, if they can’t.”

Cllr Kevin Hughes, Leader of the Labour Group on Chichester District Council added, “Once again, West Sussex County Council Tories have proved that they are unable to listen to the justified concerns, not just of opposition members, but of the many residents and campaigners who applauded Labour’s decision to call this travesty in. Worst of all is the apparent disregard for the children and parents of these schools.”

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