A HEADTEACHER is appealing for his closure-threatened school to be given another chance.

Chris Griffiths, head of St Anthony's School, Middlesbrough, will attend a meeting of Middlesbrough Borough Council's cabinet today, which will take a step nearer closing the Roman Catholic secondary.

Councillors will be told that St Anthony's has too many surplus places - currently 22 percent and rising; is below the Audit Commission's recommended minimum size; has disproportionately high running costs and a £110,000 budget deficit.

A report says that while an action plan drawn up by Mr Griffiths and his governors to keep the school open "has qualities, it is not costed realistically and it is unlikely that the school's difficulties could be resolved by this route".

Mr Griffiths said: "The reason it was not costed is because, given our financial situation, we would be silly to spend more money when it is a question of re-organising and looking at how to restructure things without having to spend money.

"A lot of it is about saving money and looking towards GNVQ (vocational training).

"Rather than spend money on GCSEs, we could spend the same on GNVQ. It is looking at opportunities.''

Councillors will be asked to agree to a minimum one-month consultation on the preferred option of closing the school.

Mr Griffiths said: "I just hope they will listen to what the community has to say. They still miss the fact that a Catholic school is an important part of the community. If the school goes, the Catholic community will disappear."

The report to be discussed today says a large proportion of parents in the catchment area choose to send their offspring to other schools.

Mr Griffiths said moves should be made to encourage parents to choose the school, to strengthen St Anthony's. "The grass is no greener on the other side of the hill," he said