Harry Potter star Warwick Davis' campaign to save tiny primary school
Harry Potter star Warwick Davis leads campaign to save one of the oldest and smallest primary schools in the country from closure after it ‘did great things’ for his son
- Veteran actor Warwick Davis is campaigning to save a Cambridgeshire school
- Great Gidding C of E Primary School has just 47 pupils in attendance
- The Harry Potter actor has said the school closing would be a ‘travesty’
Harry Potter star Warwick Davis is leading a campaign to stop the closure of one of the oldest and smallest primary schools in the country which he said did ‘great things’ for his son.
The veteran actor, who played Professor Flitwick in the Hogwarts films series, is fighting Cambridgeshire County Council’s (CCC) decision to shut the Great Gidding Church of England Primary School.
Warwick has warned it would be a travesty should the school close and has family history with the tiny school where his son Harrison, now 20, attended.
The rural school currently has just 47 pupils in attendance, dropping from 75 pupils ten years ago.
Thirty-five of those pupils came from outside the school’s mainly rural catchment area in rural Cambridgeshire, close to Huntingdon.
Warwick Davis attended a public meeting in person last week to fight for the school to remain open
The Great Gidding Church of England Primary School has been earmarked for closure
Warwick Davis has said the primary school closing would be a travesty
This year is set to have an even smaller class load, with the school which has a capacity for 90 children having more than 40 pupils signed up to start in September.
CCC is now considering closing the school this summer, but parents state the school is vital for the children living in the rural area in Huntingdonshire who ‘thrive’ under the ‘exceptional environment they provide’.
In a Tweet Star Wars actor Warwick, 53, wrote: ‘This school did great things for my son, Harrison Davis. It would be a travesty to see it close.
‘If you feel inclined and believe in good education and learning environments, please sign the petition below. Thanks!’
The online petition currently has 821 signatures, which also draws attention to the lack of availability for admission to the other primary schools in the area.
Warwick Davis (left) with with daughter Annabelle Davis (right) and son Harrison Davis (centre). Harrison attended the school which Warwick said did ‘great things’ for him
Christopher Jakins is the parent of a six-year-old girl who attends the school.
The stay-at-home dad said without Warwick’s magic touch their campaign to save the school would have gone nowhere: ‘We have had more media attention and the news has spread further and wider than it would have done.’
Warwick attended a public meeting on the matter last week, where councillors had to present ‘with a Hollywood legend right in front of them!’ according to Chris.
Chris also said the small school has done wonders for his daughter, who he didn’t want to name. She was delayed in her reading and social skills due to the pandemic.
He said: ‘Our daughter came out of the pandemic with delayed reading and writing skills.
‘She was almost afraid of other people altogether having not been able to mix much with her own age group through lockdowns.
‘The combination of smaller class sizes, mixed year group classes and individual teaching meant that she has made really good progress with them.
Chris also knows another family who moved to the village recently specifically to be closer to the school.
CCC’s Children and Young People Committee has since launched a consultation to seek views on the potential closure and the displacement of pupils to other suitable local schools.
The council proposes to build a new school which would open in September 2024.
Committee chair Cllr Bryony Goodliffe said: ‘This is an important consultation with significant implications for Great Gidding Primary School.
‘It is essential that we take everybody’s views into account, so we want the views of as many people as possible.
‘This will enable us to make an informed decision as to what steps to take next.’
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