So many questions: IT seems that far too many questions have failed to be asked of the people involved in attempting to push their agenda through without proper consideration of, and discussion with, the parents and taxpayers of Darlington, who are surely of some importance.

Surely the most important factor in all of this, are the pupils? What sort of message is this sending out to future employers/parents about Eastbourne? That all the children who attend this school are badly behaved and poor achievers? That all the teachers at Eastbourne are worthless? Surely not! Yes, the school has had its problems, but don't make it the scapegoat for all that is wrong in education in the town.

By announcing the closures and without public debate what will be the effects on the education of present pupils at the two schools earmarked for closure, especially the pupils at Eastbourne, who only a few months ago were being praised by all, including the head of the Hurworth/Eastbourne Federation, for coming out of special measures after a series of inspections by an independent team of experienced HMI Inspectors?

How objective was the team of local authority inspectors in its assessment of Eastbourne when it produced a report that resulted in the headteacher being suspended a short time before the closures were announced?

Can the acting headteacher at Eastbourne really be relied upon to act in the best interests of Eastbourne pupils and staff when he has such a conflict of loyalties and interests?

Has anybody putting these proposals forward tried to travel along Yarm Road and the bypass road at rush hour or when Cummins or Orange are starting or finishing a shift? The roads are jammed now.

Are larger schools the answer considering the continuing problems at the Middlesbrough City Academy?

Who thought calling a school next to Tommy Crook's Park should be named Hurworth? Not somebody who knows anything about local history or geography. Alderman Crooks must be spinning in his grave. - Mr G. Alexander, Darlington.

Cash comes first

AS a Hurworth mother never have I, or the other mothers with which 1 have spoken today, come across such a set of suspicious and badly thought out plans as the ones I have just found out about for Hurworth Comprehensive. Are there no longer people in the education system with common sense?

If Hurworth is too small and a bit run down then stop the children from town going to it, thus reducing class sizes, modernise it with some of the money put aside from the Government's £20m and then go ahead and build a new school on Yarm Road to replace Eastbourne out of the change, as this will now cater for less pupils, and therefore it will cost less as it can be smaller.

It will be interesting to see what new use the valuable Hurworth land will be put to and just who really is going to benefit financially. The way this matter is being rushed through there does appear to be someone benefiting and it certainly is not going to be the up and coming village children.

It is a disgrace and anyone who is associated with it should be ashamed of putting quantity before quality and cash before education standards. - M Edwards, Hurworth.

Trust no one

I HAVE read the so called answers from Darlington Borough Council on this issue and find the usual trick of answering your question with an answer to a question of their own. I have checked with the Freedom of Information Act and there is no doubt that the proposal has come from the council, not the governors and has been in the planning stages for far longer than the present officer has been in post.

Officers can only advise the elected members so which hiding councillor(s) made the decision to put forward the proposal. An example of their political tricks is shown in the question "Could the school playing fields be redeveloped as housing?". The answer would be true if the school had not already been closed.

If Hurworth School no longer exists where it is, the council is free to do what it likes with the land. As I said when I resigned from the governors over the federation issue - do not trust the LEA or the DFES. The sheer arrogance of this council (or its cabinet) is breathtaking. - Clive Bullock, Darlington.

We must complain

I THINK it is an absolute disgrace, the merging of Hurworth School and Eastbourne Comprehensive.

Apart from the fact plans have been stealthily held back until after the election, as Councillor Foster pointed out earlier this week, why does the council seem intent on squeezing everything into the Yarm Road area?

Who in their right minds thinks that mixing the best school with the worst school will pull the worst school up to the same achievement figures as Hurworth?

It did not work years ago when they merged all the schools around the town. It will merely lower the standards for Hurworth and its future generations. I strongly urge every resident in Hurworth, children or not, to write and complain to Tony Blair and back any plans to block this merger. No doubt the Hurworth site will be getting sold off for a massive council profit as development land. - Ian White, Hurworth.

Get building

I HAVE no kids myself but did go to Eastbourne years ago when it was a good school.

The new laws about no cane or slipper have a lot to do with the decline in discipline, pride in oneself, and determination to be better than other schools.

I say build the new one ASAP and get the kids competing to be the best in studies and results show all the town's schools how good they can all be. - David Swan, Darlington