Campaigners in Shropshire, West Midlands, won a major victory last week when they stopped the planned closure of 22 primary schools.
The campaign is one of many sparked around the country after it was revealed that the government had encouraged councils to close or merge schools that had “surplus places”.
Government guidance for councils in December advocated the “amalgamation and rationalisation” of primary schools with surplus places. But “surplus places” mean smaller class sizes – which many teachers see as positive.
Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said that smaller pupil numbers “should not be a threat to schools but an opportunity to increase the range of the curriculum, reduce class sizes and increase individual tuition”.
One in 13 small primary schools has closed since Labour came to power – 219 schools with under 100 pupils have closed since 1997.