'Sad day' as closure of Harrogate district primary school with just six pupils gets go-ahead

A Harrogate district primary school with just six pupils left on the register will close its doors for the final time at the end of the summer term.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:38 pm
Kell Bank Church of England Primary School has served the villages of Fearby and Healey for 200 years.

Kell Bank Church of England Primary School near Masham is this year celebrating its 200th anniversary and was rated as 'outstanding' in its latest Ofsted report.

But pupil numbers have dwindled over recent years from 45 in 2013 to just six this year and despite efforts to save the school it will now close its doors for good on 31 August.

North Yorkshire County Council revealed the closure plans last October and the move was given a final go-ahead at a meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking afterwards, Stuart Carlton, the council's director of children and young people’s service, said: "Whenever we have to take forward a proposal for school closure we do so with a heavy heart. 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.

“During the consultation on closure there was generally an acceptance that with only six pupils on roll, the school would not be able to continue. This week’s decision to close Kell Bank is immensely sad given its long history but there was no alternative in the circumstances.”

A report to Tuesday's meeting said the decision was taken as the school would fall into a deficit of around £50,000 by 2023.

There were also concerns that the existing pupils will not have opportunities to interact with enough children of their own age or take part in team sports.

Two of the current pupils at the school are in year six and will progress to secondary schools when the school closes. The other four pupils will be given places at Masham Church of England Primary School.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter