Council seeking views on potential closure of Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate

A public meeting is set to be held at Woodfield Community Primary School on Wednesday (June 15), giving parents the opportunity to share their views on the future of the school.

By Lucy Chappell
Monday, 13th June 2022, 11:33 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 11:44 am

The consultation on whether to close Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate has been established after other options – including finding an academy sponsor, or a school merger – proved unsuccessful.

As a result, views on a proposed closure are being sought from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including parents and school staff.

As part of the consultation, a public meeting will be held at the school on Wednesday, June 15 at 6pm.

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North Yorkshire County Council are seeking views on the potential closure of Woodfield Community Primary School

It is proposed to close Woodfield Community Primary School from December 31, 2022.

The catchment of an existing school or schools would need to be extended to include the area currently served by Woodfield Community Primary School.

Options for consideration include:

- The whole of the current Woodfield School catchment area to become part of the catchment area for Grove Road Primary School.

- The whole of the current Woodfield School catchment area to become part of the catchment area for Bilton Grange Primary School.

- Some form of shared or split arrangement involving both Grove Road and Bilton Grange Schools.

North Yorkshire County Council will welcome any feedback during the consultation period on these options and any alternatives to them.

Views received will undergo a formal review, which will be considered by the council’s executive before any further action is taken.

Councillor Annabel Wilkinson, member for education and skills, said: “Woodfield Community Primary School governors, together with North Yorkshire County Council, have worked extremely hard to find a solution which would see the school remain open but, sadly, this has not produced any viable options.

“During the consultation we will listen to parents’ views, we will also review the opinions of other groups involved with the school.

"Everyone will be given the opportunity to contribute.”

What has happened?

Last year, Governors of Woodfield Community Primary School asked the county council to begin a consultation which would look at potentially closing the school, following careful consideration of the school’s position.

The school received an inadequate Ofsted judgement following an inspection in January 2020, which required it to become a sponsored academy.

The Regional Schools Commissioner was unable to secure a multi-academy trust to sponsor the school, due to viability concerns.

It then prompted the school’s governing body to work with Grove Road Community Primary in Harrogate, to explore combining the two schools in order to share the benefit of both schools sites, which would have seen Woodfield school technically close and become part of Grove Road from September 2022.

An extensive consultation process was undertaken involving public meetings and gathering the views of parents and the local community, but eventually, Grove Road Community Primary School decided, with regret, to withdraw its support for the amalgamation.

Now the executive have agreed to a proposal from the governing body of Woodfield school, to begin a public consultation on potentially closing the primary.

The governing body of Woodfield Community Primary School said the governors had worked hard to find a positive solution for the school, exploring every available avenue.

They added in a statement: “Unfortunately, it is our conclusion that we have exhausted all options that are available.

“It is with a very heavy heart that the governors of Woodfield school have had to ask the county council to begin the consultation process for closure.’’

Feedback received during the consultation will undergo a formal review, which will be considered by North Yorkshire County Council’s executive before any further action is taken.