Parents to fight closure of 250 year-old Harrogate school

Parents of pupils have pledged to fight the closure
Parents of pupils have pledged to fight the closure

Bitterly disappointed parents of pupils say they will fight to keep a 250 year-old school in Harrogate after they were told it is no longer financially viable.

A public consultation on whether Burnt Yates Church of England Primary School remains open will be held in 2018 following a failed search for an academy.

However parents say they have lost faith in North Yorkshire County Council and the Diocese of Leeds in handling the situation, flagging problems including communication and support since an inadequate Ofsted report last year.

Parent Linda Smith said:“We feel other schools across the area should know they could be next.
“Many other small Church of England schools are due for inspections. If they fail to find a trust then they could be next.”
She added: “From what parents were told before Ofsted the school was working fine.
“No issues of finance were mentioned until part way through the search for an academy.
“We have lost faith in the county and the Diocese, not by the quality of education but how they have handled this situation.”

As further housing looks set to be built across the district Coun Nathan Hull (Lower Nidderdale) asked why a change to the catchment area was not being considered to increase places at the school.

Coun Nathan Hull said: “I am bitterly disappointed over the situation, I have children at the school myself and I do not believe enough has been done by NYCC.
He added: To alleviate pressure on the lack of school places across the area we could look at changing the catchment area, meaning more places could be filled here
“The more housing we have coming in will add to the issue of school places, if they changed the catchment area things could be different.”

North Yorkshire County Council and the Diocese say they have done all they can, but the school was unable to academise and the official order requiring it do so was lifted on the basis it was not financially viable.