A primary school will close this summer due to a decline in pupil numbers.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive members today (Tuesday, May 30) approved the closure of Skelton Newby Hall Primary School near Ripon.
The closure is due to a fall in pupil numbers. The school has suffered from dwindling numbers of children for several years and in autumn 2022 had nine pupils on roll.
By February 2023, just one pupil remained at the school with education taking place at Sharow Church of England Primary School, which is federated with Skelton Newby Hall.
Ofsted inspectors last visited the school in March 2020, grading it as “requiring improvement”.
A consultation on the proposed closure was carried out by North Yorkshire Council to allow parents, teachers, governors and local people an opportunity to share their views. A further statutory representation period ended on April 27. Following today’s decision, the school will close on August 31.
The closure would extend the catchment area of Kirby Hill Church of England Primary School to include the area currently served by Skelton Newby Hall.
North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said:
North Yorkshire Council does everything possible to support our small schools. However, our priority must be the children’s education and that it remains fit for purpose to give them the best start to their lives.
Unfortunately, falling pupil numbers at Skelton Newby Hall Primary School have been a concern for quite some time. Pupil numbers determine the school budget and we have a duty to ensure every child has the best possible opportunity to succeed.
The school’s governing body, staff and parents have been active in their collective efforts to raise numbers at the school over recent years, but pupil numbers have continued to fall.
Cllr Wilkinson added:
To close the school has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, but we have to put the education of pupils first.
North Yorkshire has about 50 schools and academies with fewer than 50 pupils. North Yorkshire Council will continue to lobby the Government strongly for fairer funding for the county’s schools.