SCORES of residents rallied in a bid to to save the Deanes School.

Inspector David Lennard, from the Office of the Schools Ajudicator, held a public meeting at the Thundersley school last night to hear evidence on whether or not Essex County Council’s decision to shut the school should be reversed.

Crowds of pupils and parents packed the hall at the school hall, in Daws Heath Road, in a public outcry against the closure plan.

Mr Lennard’s office operates independently from the Department for Education and has the power to overturn the closure.

A question mark was put over the Deanes School in May last year, prompting fierce opposition from thousands of residents, as well as local MPs and councillors.

However, the county council’s ruling Tory cabinet defied public opinion and voted in November to close the school. Its fate rests with the Office of the Schools Ajudicator and the school’s bid for academy status, which is being reviewed by the Department for Education.

Southend Standard:

Decision: David Lennard - inspector from the office of school adjudicator

Lauren Howard of Moorcroft Avenue, Daws Heath, who has two sons at the school, said: “It will be hugely disruptive to my children, if the school closes, and they don’t deserve that.

“My son, Sam, has been having tennis lessons here since he was four, he doesn’t want to go anywhere else.

“We were so upset when the council decided to close it.

“Hopefully, the adjudicator will see that this fantastic school deserves to stay open.”

Castle Point Conservative councillor Colin Riley said: “Frankly, I am disappointed it has had to come this far.

“We all know the school needs to stay open. You can see that from the turnout, it’s standing room only.

Hopefully, the adjudicator will see what we all see and stop it from closing.”