Burnt Yates CE VA Primary School was placed in Special Measures following the Ofsted inspection that took place in December 2016.
The Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) issued a Directive Academy Order on 30 January 2017 as the school was eligible for intervention (having been placed in special measures) under the Education and Inspections Act 2006.
The Diocese began the process to find a suitable academy trust that might sponsor the school to become an academy.
As required by the RSC, North Yorkshire County Council officers provided information in the form of a viability assessment in April 2017. The officers’ conclusion was, taking a view that the total pupil roll could well fall into the high teens, that the school would not be viable. This was on the basis of Burnt Yates Primary School as a stand-alone institution without some form of structural change such as academisation or amalgamation.
By August 2017 no potential sponsor academy trust had been identified but amalgamation with another local school was thought to be a possibility. The Diocese and the county council asked for revocation of the Directive Academy Order to allow exploration of potential amalgamation to proceed, and in doing so also recognised that should this fail the statutory process to consult on closure of the school would need to be commenced.
The County Council and Diocese assisted the governors of Ripley Primary School in exploring the possibility of amalgamating Ripley Primary School and Burnt Yates Primary School and supported the governors through their process of due diligence during October and November 2017. This would have involved Burnt Yates Primary School closing but education continuing on the premises as part of Ripley operating on a split school site.
Having discussed and considered the due diligence information and in particular the financial modelling, Governors of Ripley School decided on 14 November 2017 not to go ahead to the next stage of formal consultation on an amalgamation proposal.
The Regional Schools Commissioner, having reviewed all current information including the April viability assessment and in response to the specific request from the county council and Diocese, wrote to Burnt Yates primary, the county council and the diocese to confirm the revocation of the Academy Order.
This allows the county council to consult on closing the school in order to either amalgamate the school (involving a technical closure of Burnt Yates School), or to close the school outright.
As attempts to find structural change through academy conversion or amalgamation have failed, the county council will now look to undertake the statutory process to cease to maintain Burnt Yates Primary School.
The first step during December will be to secure Executive Member approval to start public consultation. If approved, this consultation will commence in January 2018.
The final decision on school organisation matters is taken by the County Council’s Executive taking account of the officers’ recommendation and all views expressed throughout the process by parents, the wider community and other stakeholders.