PARENTS and teachers are fighting to save a school swimming pool after it shut its doors amid budget concerns.

Test Valley School issued a letter to parents last month saying “the school’s board of governors has regretfully decided after careful consideration to close the swimming pool with immediate effect.”

Running costs have been cited as the reason for the move.

But parents of children at the Stockbridge school argue they were not properly consulted.

Shawn Weatherall, chair of the Test Valley School Parent Teacher Association (PTA), said: “There was no consultation at all, not with the PTA.

“The governors didn’t give us any options to go further afield to get funding for this. They haven’t given us any leeway to try and keep the pool open in any way.”

Running costs are estimated to be £12,000 which includes heating, maintenance, chemicals and staffing.

Headteacher Louisa Hiscock said: “We understand that this decision has come as a disappointment to many in our school community, but the school is currently having to make some very difficult decisions in how it allocates its available budget.

“This is an issue being faced by many schools up and down the country, with the level of school funding and resources received from central government making it very challenging to deliver the level of provision and support expected and deserved by our pupils.

“The governing body, with oversight for the financial performance of the school, has been working with the school over the last two years to find a way to retain the swimming pool.

“This included setting up a working party with PTA members to explore other funding options and, last year, seeking parental contributions.

“However, despite our best efforts we have been unable to secure the significant financial resources that are needed to cover the annual running costs and future renovation needs.”

The school wrote to parents last year requesting a £10 donation to contribute towards the pool’s costs, but Shawn argues the request did not convey the severity of the situation.

“That letter was about it. That was all we had.

“They sent a letter home to parents asking for a donation, instead of telling the truth and saying unless we get the funding we will be struggling with the cost.”

A meeting has been set up between the governors and the PTA for the end of this month.

Shawn added: “We want a meeting with the governors so they can explain their decision because we’ve never seen anything on their reasons for closing it.”

A petition to save the pool has been set up, gaining more than 800 signatures already.

You can sign the petition at the following link: