North Yorkshire Council to consider closing a primary school in Nidderdale due to challenges with pupil numbers
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Fountains Earth Church of England Primary School in Lofthouse has suffered from dwindling pupil numbers in recent years.
The most recent full Ofsted inspection was in April 2017 when the school was graded as good.
At the time, there were 22 pupils attending the school.
At this time last year there were 15 pupils attending the school, which is part of a federation of schools with St Cuthbert’s in Pateley Bridge and Glasshouses Primary School, sharing one headteacher.
The school’s governing board recently approached North Yorkshire Council to request consultation on a proposal to close the school after all pupils had transferred to other schools by the start of the current academic year in September.
The council will consider the request on Tuesday next week (November 7), and the executive member for education, learning and skills, Coun Annabel Wilkinson, will decide whether to approve if consultation should be undertaken.
Coun Wilkinson said: “A decision to consult on potentially closing a school is always an extremely hard one to have to make. No one wants to be in this position.
“North Yorkshire maintains more small, rural schools than any other local authority in the country. Sadly, the reality is that many of our schools, particularly those in rural areas, are seeing pupil numbers reduce year-on-year.
“Fountains Earth Primary School is among the rural schools finding itself in a difficult position, particularly around pupil numbers and funding, and I will consider these issues carefully when deciding if a public consultation should proceed.”
If the consultation to close the school does proceed, it will start later in November and run for five weeks and will include a public meeting.
The council’s executive would be scheduled to consider the consultation feedback in January 2024.
If the proposed closure was approved at the end of the required process, Fountains Earth Primary School would close on March 31, 2024.