'Heavy heart' as Harrogate district school with just six pupils moves step closer to closure

Final preparations have begun to close a Harrogate district school with just six pupils left on its roll.

Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 3:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th February 2021, 3:48 pm
Kell Bank Church of England Primary School in Masham. Photo: Google.

A statutory notice for the closure of Kell Bank Church of England Primary School in Masham has been published by North Yorkshire County Council and a consultation is currently taking place.

The outstanding-rated school - which is this year celebrating its 200th anniversary - originally had the capacity to take around 50 children but pupil numbers have tumbled from 45 in 2013 to just six this year.

A report from council officers previously said attempts from parents and governors to try and find a solution to save the school had failed.

Stuart Carlton, the council's director of children’s services, said the move to bring the school a step closer to closure was being done with a "heavy heart".

He said: "We know the value of village schools but such low numbers cannot financially sustain a school and can have a negative impact on the social and educational interests of children remaining.

“In the main the consultation response to date appears to indicate an acceptance of the situation here given only six pupils remain on roll.

“Nevertheless, we would welcome any further views to be made known before the executive takes a final decision.”

A final decision on the future of the school is expected on 23 March.If councillors agree to the proposed closure, the school will shut at the end of August this year and the catchment area would be extended to the nearby Masham Church of England Primary School.

The consultation will run until 5 March.

To take part go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/current-consultations

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter