National Education Union launch campaign to save Harrogate's Woodfield Community Primary School from closure

An education union in North Yorkshire has stated that it has vowed to campaign to save Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate from the threat of closure.

The school’s future has been placed in jeopardy following an Ofsted inspection in January 2020 rated the school as ‘inadequate’ and this led to an Academy Order being placed on the school, meaning that Regional Schools Commissioner Katherine Cowell had to seek a Multi-Academy Trust to take over the running of the school.

When nobody came forward, a proposed collaboration with nearby Grove Road Primary School was discussed, but this plan was also discarded, leaving Governors at Woodfield School with little option but to ask North Yorkshire County Council to launch a consultation on the full closure of the school.

The consultation, which runs until July 4, included a public meeting to discuss proposals for closure which was attended by local residents who expressed concerns regarding future provision for children with special needs, alongside raising concerns regarding the future use of the land.

Woodfield Community Primary School is at threat of closure following an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating

Gary McVeigh-Kaye, Branch Secretary for the National Education Union, who also attended the public meeting, said: "The first line of the Ofsted report claims ‘many pupils at this school have been let down and I agree with this, but they have not been let down by hardworking and dedicated staff.

"The pupils have been let down by Ofsted, by the Regional Schools Commissioner and mostly by the Department for Education, who are using Ofsted to drive their ideological – and illogical – academisation agenda.

"Woodfield School has been through some traumatic times over the past decade and the school needs support, not criticism from Ofsted.

"Woodfield is a genuine community school, at the heart of the community and serving generations of families whose children have attended the school and to force the closure of this valuable community asset is immoral."

Harrogate residents urged to check their sheds and gardens as missing dog search goes on

The National Education Union will campaign with staff and the local community to fight to save the school so that many more generations of local children can benefit from being educated locally.

Mr McVeigh-Kaye added: "The Woodfield community deserve a school and if the Department for Education backs away from its bullying and bullish tactics of issuing Academy Orders, the local community can work alongside North Yorkshire County Council, teaching staff and education unions to help Woodfield Community Primary School thrive once more.

"I have already secured meetings with local politicians, including Andrew Jones MP, and I now urge North Yorkshire County Council to extend the consultation period to allow the local community to engage with the process fully.

"We also need locals to get involved and form a campaign committee.

"The National Education Union will support and stand alongside a community led campaign, but the fight must be driven by local residents."

Anyone who would like to be involved in the campaign, or would like further information, can contact [email protected]