LABOUR and Lib Dem campaigners are engaged in a war of words over who is campaigning hardest to keep a popular secondary school open.
Labour activists have criticised a Lib Dem leaflet distributed in Berechurch ward, claiming Labour has “given up” on attempts to save Thomas Lord Audley School.
Essex County Council wants to close it, along with Alderman Blaxill School as part of a £100million-plus shake-up of secondary education in Colchester.
A vocational college for 14 to 19-year-olds has been mooted for the Thomas Lord Audley School site, but many fear the £100million earmarked for the scheme will be cut as part of the next Government’s package to reduce the budget deficit.
Jordan Newell, Labour’s candidate in Colchester, stressed he was still fighting to keep secondary education at Thomas Lord Audley, which is within the Berechurch ward.
He said: “I have not given up the fight. We want some form of secondary education retained on that site.
“We will keep fighting and we will do our lobbying.”
However, Lib Dem candidate Bob Russell was unrepentant and is standing by the leaflet, which accused Labour of “sacrificing” the two schools because it supports county council plans to replace Sir Charles Lucas Arts College, in Greenstead with an academy.
He said: “I’m still fighting for Thomas Lord Audley to remain an 11 to 16 school.
“There is a world of difference between a vocational college for the over-14s and a secondary school for 11 to 16-year-olds.
“They’re two totally different educational establishments.”
Mr Newell responded he supported plans to keep Thomas Lord Audley open, set out in so-called “option four” proposals, which would put it in a federation with Stanway School.