Well not at tonight’s meeting of Leicester City Council’s scrutiny committee, that’s for sure. My question from earlier was answered – many people do care, very passionately, about education.
No, where it all went wrong for Riverside, was when it was decided to open up school admissions to the market and that was years and years ago. Provided there’s space, you can send your child to any school you want. Just like a supermarket, the good ones will survive and the bad ones, where no-one wants to go, will eventually close.
And, as a senior member of Leicester’s education elite said to me only today, when fewer than 30 children are enrolled for 180 places, it’s a “no brainer”. You can see their point.
But schools aren’t supermarkets, are they. Look at the 40 or so staff and parents in the audience at Leicester Town Hall tonight. Every one of them, I’m sure, will feel like their views haven’t been listened to. And they’re right, really. They were forced to sit in silence or be told off for jeering or booing.
I don’t know what effect closing Riverside will have on that area of Leicester but I’m pretty sure the consequences will be much like shutting a village post office or building on a local park.
Maybe people have voted with their feet and that does mean it takes an awful lot of money to keep the school afloat or reverse its fortunes – too much – but does that mean the world is a better place without it?
Of course not. And that’s the real shame.