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Letter: Diocese’s Statement on Ripley School is Misleading

Published on: 3 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 3 Jul, 2020

From Julie Iles

Conservative county councillor for The Horsleys

In response to: Bishop Threatens Legal Action Over Plan to Use Closed Ripley School During Pandemic

This sentence from the Diocese’s statement is misleading: “Following national guidance issued by the Department of Education, and after liaising with the Regional Schools Commissioner and the Local Authority, the Diocese has been advised not to use the buildings for this purpose.”

We at Surrey County Council, as the local authority responsible, have been working with school settings to ensure that government guidance provides for a safe return of pupils. The above implies that SCC advised the Diocese not to use the buildings. The Diocese relied on advice from the Department of Education and Regional Schools Commissioner rather than any from us as the local authority. It’s an important distinction given the strength of feeling in the local community.

The Friends of Ripley contacted us to say they were considering using the closed school site at Ripley and re-open it for children from local schools to create more safe school places during Covid-19. We confirmed that we were happy for them to use the playing fields, but that the decision on the use of buildings lay with the Diocese of Guildford and the trustees of the site.”

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