Peter and Valerie Miles,

On Tuesday, September 24, there was a public meeting at Mountfield and Whatlington School. This meeting ws part of the formal process of “consultation” on the proposed closure of the school. County and the diocese between them fielded no fewer than seven officers to answer questions and counter arguments.

Essentially, the key is that County twice pulled the plug on the process of recruiting a new headteacher. They defended this by arguing that none of the sixteen applicants (eleven first time and 5 the second time) was suitable to turn the school round, particularly given that it was also in special measures.

And the fact the school was in special measures was also, apparently, the reason that the plans for a feeder nursery school on the site were dropped, even though those plans were very advanced with planning and finance in place. Although a nursery school would have helped to attract the numbers required for the school to be viable, County contested that it would have been too great a burden in addition to working their way out of special measures.

The apparent lack of determination to back Mountfield and Whatlington School, particularly over the appointment of a new head and the planned nursery provision, has been the most baffling question. The answer to this slowly became clear as Fiona Wright presented County’s case. It wasn’t just the school’s limited capacity, or the declining numbers, or falling standards, or cost arguments, but the fact that, from County’s point of view, M&W School is, strategically, quite simply in the wrong place. They are under pressure to provide pupil places — just not in Mountfield. When asked whether this was this was indeed the reason behind County’s lack of determination, very tellingly, it was not denied.

Many people spoke including Kathryn Field (our county councillor), parents, ex-governors, ex-pupils, parish councillors, local residents and people from the communities. The anger was clear, as was the hurt. But it has to be said that, hanging over the whole meeting, was the fact that, after 140 years, on the day of the meeting, Mountfield and Whatlington School only had six pupils. The final irony is that some of those six were only there because they couldn’t find an alternative place.

On a happier note, it was good to see the fields being cut and carried in a rather more timely fashion than last year’s sodden harvest tide and, as we type this, the fields are being drilled with winter cereals. Which means its Harvest Festival time. The service will be on Sunday, October 6 at 3.00 pm in All Saints, Mountfield and will be followed by a Harvest Tea in the Village Hall — £3.00 for adults and £1.00 for children. The gifts for the festival will go to St Nicholas Fellowship in St Leonards which does family and social work. Packets of cereal, tea, biscuits and other dry comestibles as well as soap and toothpaste would be most welcome as well as the usual fruit and vegetables. You can deliver fruit and veg to the church on the preceding Friday or tak it along to the service.

The Mountfield Club’s snooker team came crashing back down to earth when they lost their first away match against a new Battle team 4-1. Steve Smith won Mountfield’s only frame with some very good potting in the 4th frame. After two matches, Mountfield find themselves in third place in Division 3 with a home match v Burwash Common next up. This week saw the start of the Robertsbridge and District Darts League for both of Mountfield teams. Both teams lost their opening matches 4-3 — a full report to follow.

On Saturday, October 19, the Mountfield club is hosting a Fun Family Quiz Night with a entry fee of £3 to include a Buffet. Test your knowledge on music, TV, general knowledge and lots more. If you would like to be part of a team, please phone Steve Smith on 07720 298971.

One of Robin Harris’s friends lost a small brindle and white terrier called Eric somewhere between the Gypsum mines and Darwell Reservoir. Eric is micro chipped. Please keep your eyes open and if you have any news, call Robin on 880621.

Finally, can we repeat a personal plea from a recent Village Voice. Is there anyone out there who knows their motor racing from the mid-30s to the mid-60s? Or do you know someone who does? We love to hear from you.

As ever, you know where we are: or 880614 (evenings).