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Proposed Dales school closure "not fair"

Proposed Dales school closure "not fair"

Published at 3:15pm 5th January 2017. (Updated at 3:42pm 5th January 2017)

Parents fighting the closure of a Dales school are stepping up their campaign.

Last month, North Yorkshire County Council's Executive agreed to move forward with proposals to shut Horton-in-Ribblesdale Primary.

Today, it's published closure notices, kick-starting a public consultation which will run until 2 February.

Councillors will then make a final decision on 21 February.

The County Council argues the school has only 15 pupils and was without a full-time head teacher. 

Speaking last month, County Councillor Arthur Barker said: "Teaching staff, the Diocese and Local Authority Officers have all voiced their concerns about the impact that the very low numbers are having on the children’s personal development, behaviour and welfare. They believe that pupils currently have limited opportunities to interact socially and to learn among a wider group of peers.

"We take this decision with a heavy heart as we do everything possible to support our small schools. But our priority must be the children’s education and that it remains fit for purpose to give them the best start for their future lives."

However the school's governors have since recruited a full-time head teacher and say the school is "thriving". 

Parent Nicky Rhodes, who's also co-chair governor, said: "It's not just been the appointment of the head teacher, it's been the support from the surrounding communities and schools. There's a huge amount of support out there, not just in our community, to keep us going.

"We need to keep up the lobbying. This is not fair. This is a school they're trying to close because it's not deemed alive, but we have a teaching head teacher who is here for the long term."

It's proposed that if Horton-in-Ribblesdale Primary closes, the area currently served by the school will be served by Austwick Church of England Primary School five miles away. 

You can find out more about the consultation at www.northyorks.gov.uk/article/33027/Consultation---Horton-in-Ribblesdale-Primary-School