Funding boost for small schools in North Yorkshire

Funding boost for small schools in North Yorkshire

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 7:26am 4th March 2020. (Updated at 7:30am 4th March 2020)

The county council are helping out those with less than 100 pupils to try and prevent any potential closures.

  • There's currently around 110 schools in North Yorkshire with a hundred pupils or fewer.
  • A number of small rural schools have closed in recent years, including Skipton Ings and Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
  • Now the county council are taking action to try and prevent any further closures.

A range of measures have been set out by North Yorkshire County Council to try and secure the future of more than a hundred primary schools which have 100 pupils or less on their roll.

These are mainly found in rural areas, where pupil population in declining, in contrast to many schools in urban areas, where new housing developments are bringing a growth in numbers.

A council committee recently heard that financial sustainability issues in small schools can quickly turn to viability issues.

In 2004 there were more than 170 primary schools in North Yorkshire with fewer than 100 pupils, but after a number of closures that number now stands at around 110 schools.

 

school classroom

 
School closures in recent years have included Skipton Ings in 2017, which reportedly was staying open to teach just one pupil.

Other recent closures include Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Rathmell in the Yorkshire Dales, and Burnt Yates near Harrogate.

The closures have been greeted with alarm by community leaders, particularly in national parks, where the presence of a school is seen as key to retaining families in the community.

The authority’s assistant director for education, Judith Kirk, told the meeting:

“Some of our smallest schools are seeing declines in populations, but the schools are taking this extremely seriously.

“Some of the schools are in positions by which they are in very rural communities and are very needy. Schools are starting to come up with all sorts of different ways to manage the changes in numbers and changes in demography as well.”

 

School

 

Stuart Carlton, the council’s  director of children and young people’s service, said while the authority was prevented from spending schools’ funding directly on recruitment, it had given some schools experiencing recruitment issues “additional funding to bring in an incentive”.

Stuart Carlton added:

“Recruitment has been incredibly successful by us marketing the area better, looking outwards more and bringing people in, celebrating what we do really well. There are some lessons for us to think through, but some of these things do come down to funding.”