Engine oil and graffiti attack leaves Coseley School governor devastated

"I'm devastated. I just don't understand why this has happened." 

Sue Ridney at the front of her house which was attacked
Sue Ridney at the front of her house which was attacked

The words of Coseley School governor Sue Ridney after vandals daubed offensive graffiti across the windows of her home and poured used engine oil across her front garden.

Mrs Ridney, who is chairman of the at-risk school's interim executive board, returned to her house in Gough Road, Coseley, to find that vandals had struck.

"It was a complete shock," the 64-year-old said.

Sue Ridney at the front of her house which was attacked

"I could see the word 'lies' had been sprayed across the window and then I noticed the mess on the front garden. There was old engine oil everywhere.

"It was on the steps, on the front garden and all over the path and wall. It is very worrying. We spent all of Thursday and the next morning cleaning up the mess.

"We have no CCTV so there is no way of knowing who has done this."

West Midlands Police spokeswoman Joanne Hunt said an investigation had been launched over suspected criminal damage which was discovered on Thursday morning.

Dudley Council announced earlier this month that 528-pupil Coseley School may be shut down due to falling pupil numbers, poor academic results and a growing financial deficit.

Vandalism on the front of the home

Among the options being considered is a phased closure of the school in which pupils in years 7, 8 and 9 would be moved, with those in Year 10 staying put until they complete their studies.

Plans to open a technical college or studio school on the site have also been mooted. The proposed closure has sparked fury among parents, who have started a campaign group to keep the school open.

Dozens of parents and pupils protested on the steps of Dudley Council House last week, many of them armed with placards bearing the words: Save Our School.

Mrs Ridney, a former councillor for Coseley East who is standing in this year's council elections, added: "If I have been targeted because of what is going on at the school then people are getting the wrong end of the stick.

"People know that I am always here to talk to about any issues regarding the school. My door is always open. I care deeply about the future of the school and our children, they are the important ones here.

"I was so proud of the parents when they protested. Despite what has happened I will not turn my back on anyone who wants to save the school."

The future of the school was discussed at a meeting at Dudley Council House last week, with parents, Coseley councillors and council bosses in attendance.

Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden also attended the meeting.

He said: "It was a good opportunity for parents to have direct contact with the council about the difficulties facing the school.

"I know local parents are very concerned about what is happening. I want to work with both the parents and the council to get the best possible outcome for children in Coseley."

Remains of the oil in the front of the garden

Dudley College has been approached to see if it could offer support in the event of the school closing.

Council bosses say the school's current deficit of £500,000 could hit £1m by 2017 unless action is taken. The school has been blighted by poor exam results since 2011.

Last year the school came 19th in the borough in the secondary school league tables, with 36 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C, including maths and English.

This year the figure was down to 31 per cent, placing the school in 20th spot.

Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of Dudley Council said: "Consulting on the closure of a school is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we want to be open and transparent with parents during the process.

"These are difficult decisions we are having to make, but I'd like to reassure people that children's educational interests are paramount. We hope as many parents as possible will get involved during the consultation period."

A public consultation has been launched over the future of the school. It is available via www.dudley.gov.uk and runs until April 5.

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