Bishop Thornton Church of England School
Bishop Thornton Church of England School

Parent hits out at plans to move Bishop Thornton School


The father of three pupils at a North Yorkshire village school has voiced his anger at proposals to shut it in July.

At a meeting last night at Bishop Thornton Church of England Primary School, head teacher Liz Bedford revealed plans were afoot to re-open Burnt Yates School – closed last year – and transfer the children there.

However, Dave Kirby, who has three children at Bishop Thornton School, with one due to start in September, said the move was ill thought through and naïve in the extreme.

The school has said the move is needed as Bishop Thornton School is no longer fit for purpose as the amount of space is inadequate, both within the building and the grounds.

They have also said that with expected growth in numbers attending, the move to Burnt Yates is an opportunity they want to look at.

Mr Kirby, who has lived in the village all his life and attended the primary school himself, said:

This announcement came totally out of the blue. One parent from each family with a child at the school was invited by email to attend a meeting to find out about an ‘exciting opportunity’!

And this was to say they were looking to close the school and move all the children to Bunt Yates School which closed year as it was failing. Not exciting but devastating.

Bishop Thornton School isn’t failing. It’s has had recent investment in its facilities and is thriving. If they close this school there will be nothing left in the village. Everything else has shut.


Dave Kirby
Dave Kirby

Bishop Thornton Church of England Primary School have said that proposals are for the benefit of the children and are any decisions are not related to the sale of the school:

  • Bishop Thornton Church of England Primary School near Harrogate is consulting parents and the wider community on a possible move of site to the vacant school premises at nearby Burnt Yates. The school’s governing body is asking for views on the potential move.
  • Governors feel the vacant site at Burnt Yates would offer more space and facilities for children and teachers, enhancing the learning experience. These include spacious outdoor facilities for learning and play and extensive indoor space including a school hall.
  • The school’s Governing Body will consider the comments from this consultation at the beginning of April, and decide whether to undertake statutory consultation. A final decision would then be made by North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive in June, with the school proposed to move during the summer holidays.


The Chair of Governors, Caroline Smith said:

Bishop Thornton’s staff and Governors have been invited to consider a move to Burnt Yates’ vacant school building by the Trustees of the Admiral Long’s Foundation. This would be a major change for the school and so the governors are now consulting with parents and the wider community. I would encourage all those who have links with the school to put forward their comments so that the governors are able to consider as many views as possible on this proposal.

Bishop Thornton is just over two miles from the school site at Burnt Yates.

The consultation closes on 30 March 2019.

To read the school consultation document

 Mr Kirby, who runs a successful courier business in the village, added:

The head said the meeting was the start of an initial consultation period, but I’m convinced it’s a done deal.

If it goes ahead and I’m sure it will, it will spilt the village. Some parents will send their children to Burnt Yates whilst I’ll look to send mine to Markington. And if that happens, does that mean Burnt Yates will again become unviable to remain open?

But, and it’s a big but, what happens if North Yorkshire County Council decides to keep Bishop Thornton School open, and parents have decided to select other schools for their children? This will put the school in real jeopardy!

This has not been properly considered at all. Most of the children who go to Bishop Thornton school walk to it. Now they will have to travel more than three miles to get to Burnt Yates. It will also mean some children now fall out of the catchment area too and will have to go elsewhere.



  1. Who would be paying to transport these children to a school further away. Nycc are wanting to reduce what it pays for school transport

  2. How disgusting that NYCC are even considering reopening Burnt Yates School. The parents fought for over a year to keep the school open but had no chance as I believe the decision was already made. The school was not failing but when the rumours of the closure were first spread parents were worried and began to move their children to other schools leaving Burnt Yates unviable. So be warned as this will happen at Bishop Thornton. So why was this move not considered when Burnt Yates was looking a partner school if Bishop Thornton had come forward then the school could have remained open and my grandchildren would still be attending a school which they loved

    • There are some mistakes in this Harrogate Informer article which should really be corrected as they are giving readers the wrong impression. The article says there are ‘proposals to shut’ Bishop Thornton School. In fact the Bishop Thornton School consultation document states that ‘this is not a school closure. The School would move and continue to exist in exactly the same way, with the same head teacher, teachers, staff and governors, but just on a different site.’ The Informer article also talks about plans ‘to re-open Burnt Yates School’ but the Bishop Thornton School consultation document clearly states ‘that we are our own school, and that we would move into the Burnt Yates premises with our own identity’.
      In the past, I believe, Bishop Thornton School has looked at amalgamating with the old St Joseph’s School in Bishop Thornton village. They also spent 2 years looking into a possible move into the vacant St Joseph’s School site, after St Joseph’s was closed. This would have kept the School in the centre of Bishop Thornton village, but it turned out in the end to be impossible to arrange. It is only recently that the possibility of a move to the Burnt Yates building has opened up.

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