Driffield News

Weaverthorpe School set to close this summer

Weaverthorpe Primary School’s days appear to be numbered after councillors approved plans to start the formal process to close it this summer.

A final decision will be made by North Yorkshire County Council’s Executive at the end of May, but notices outlining the closure proposals will be published online and at the main entrances to the school from April 1.

Parents had launched a campaign to save the school last year, but falling pupil numbers and the fact Weaverthorpe was classed as inadequate by Ofsted in January 2020, meant that attempts to find a solution have failed.

Local authority officers have concluded that closure of the school would be in the best interests of the children at the school and the future education of pupils in the area.

stuart carlton

County councillor Janet Sanderson gave the executive an overview of the steps taken since the damning Ofsted inspection two years ago.

She confirmed that no multi academy trust was willing to take on the governance and management of the school as it was not considered viable as a standalone school and there were no potential partner schools, due to the questionable long-term viability of the school, as a result of dwindling numbers.

With the temporary arrangement of an interim headteacher unable to continue after the summer holidays, executive members accepted there was ‘no other way forward for Weaverthorpe School’ and pupils in its catchment areas will attend neighbouring schools in Luttons and Hertford Vale from September.

It was acknowledged that during the consultation process, everyone who had responded had said closing the school would be negative for the village community.

Cllr Sanderson suggested that pupils would benefit from being in a larger school as ‘a super small school such as Weaverthorpe was not able to deliver the breadth of modern day curriculum, provide enrichment from other activities, or provide extra resources for pupils with special educational needs’.

A report by Stuart Carlton, the council’s corporate director, children and young people’s service, said that the number of children attending the school had more than halved in the last five years.

It currently has 21 pupils, which meant it was running at around 40 per cent of its capacity and six of the youngsters were in Year 6 and would be moving to secondary school after the summer term.

Mr Carlton’s report concluded: “The responses to the consultation process have failed to identify a viable alternative option that would secure the school’s future.

“It appears unlikely that such an option could be identified in future.

“Local authority officers have concluded that closure of the school would be in the best interests of the children at the school and the future education of pupils in the area.

“There are places available at other local schools and within a reasonable travel distance. It is therefore the view that there is a strong case for closure which outweighs other considerations.”

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