Residents invited to have their say on future of Harrogate district village school at risk of closure
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A formal public consultation on the future viability of Fountains Earth Church of England Primary School in Lofthouse launched on Sunday, 19 November amid challenges around pupil numbers, financial pressures and teacher recruitment.
The school in Upper Nidderdale has suffered from dwindling pupil numbers in recent years, whilst still being a valuable asset to the families living and working in the rural area.
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, all who share one headteacher.
Earlier this year, the school’s governing board approached North Yorkshire Council to request consultation on a proposal to close the school after all the pupils had transferred to other schools by the start of the current academic year in September.
On November 7, Councillor Annabel Wilkinson, Executive Member for Education, Learning and Skills, agreed to start a consultation which will seek views on the potential closure of the school.
A wide range of interested parties, including parents and the wider community, are being asked for their views before a decision on the next steps is taken.
The closing date for responses is 5pm on Friday, December 22.
Councillor Wilkinson said: “This is an important consultation, and it is essential we take everybody’s views into account.
"I would urge members of the Upper Nidderdale community to share their views so that we can make an informed decision as to what steps to take next.”
As well as the online consultation, a public meeting is set to take place on Wednesday, November 29.
The council’s executive members will consider the consultation feedback in January 2024.
If the proposed closure is approved at the end of the required process, then Fountains Earth Primary School would close on March 31, 2024.