Residents are being asked to have their say on the future of a village school in a rural community in North Yorkshire.
A formal public consultation on the future viability of Fountains Earth Church of England Primary School in Lofthouse launched yesterday (19 November 2023) amid challenges around pupil numbers, financial pressures and teacher recruitment.
The school in Upper Nidderdale has suffered from dwindling pupil numbers in recent years. At this time last year there were 15 pupils attending the school, which is part of a federation of schools with St Cuthbert’s in Pateley Bridge and Glasshouses Primary School, sharing one headteacher.
Earlier this year, the school’s governing board approached North Yorkshire Council to request consultation on a proposal to close the school after all pupils had transferred to other schools by the start of the current academic year in September.
On November 7, the council’s executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, agreed to start a consultation which will seek views on the potential closure of the school.
A wide range of interested parties, including parents and the wider community, are being asked for their views before a decision on the next steps is taken. The closing date for responses is 5pm on Friday, 22 December 2023.
Cllr Wilkinson said:
This is an important consultation, and it is essential we take everybody’s views into account. I would urge members of the Upper Nidderdale community to share their views so that we can make an informed decision as to what steps to take next.
As well as the online consultation, a public meeting is set to take place on Wednesday, 29 November 2023.
The council’s executive members will consider the consultation feedback in January 2024.
If the proposed closure is approved at the end of the required process, then Fountains Earth Primary School would close on March 31, 2024.
More information and for anyone wishing to have their say can be found online at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/FountainsEarth