Council decides to close Rathmell C of E primary school

North Yorkshire County Council has decided to close Rathmell Church of England primary school at the end of the school year.

County Hall in North Yorkshire

The Council has taken this difficult decision following a governor-led consultation on school closure due to falling pupil numbers.

There will only be 15 children on roll in September, leaving only 4 children in class 1 and with numbers in future years continuing to decline.

Governors consulted on school closure in the interests of current and future pupils because they believe falling numbers and the resulting reduction in the school budget would make it extremely difficult for the school to continue to provide a high quality of education for pupils.

The County Council will extend the catchment area of Long Preston Endowed C of E Primary School from September 1 to serve the area currently served by Rathmell. The County Council has also worked to support families to try to meet their individual preferences for other schools.

“This has been a very difficult decision for the Council,” said Cllr Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools. “We do not take the decision lightly to close a school and we do our best to support our small schools.

“We have worked closely with governors and the Diocese to consider alternatives, including collaborating with other schools to make sure that good standards of teaching and learning are available to pupils.

“We supported governors in their closure consultation because there are real concerns about the quality and breadth of education and social experience that Rathmell could continue to provide in the future and for the school’s financial viability given the low numbers. The two are not unrelated and we cannot ignore those concerns.

“It is with great sadness that Governors have taken this course of action”, said Rathmell’s Chair of Governors, Hilary Young. “We are rightly proud of the educational standards and Christian ethos at Rathmell school and have explored every avenue to maintain its future. I take this opportunity to thank and pay tribute to staff, parents, children and governors who have always worked so hard and are now making the best of a regrettable situation."

This story was published 22 June 2017