Views sought on potential closure of primary school

This story was published 10 June 2022

Parents have been assured their views will help shape a consultation that has been launched into plans to close a primary school.

School student writing

The consultation on whether to shut Woodfield Community Primary School in Harrogate has been established after other options – including finding an academy sponsor, or a school merger – proved unsuccessful.

As a result, views on a proposed closure are being sought from a wide range of individuals and organisations, including parents and school staff. As part of the consultation a public meeting will be held at the school on Wednesday, 15 June at 6pm.

It is proposed to close Woodfield Community Primary School from December 31, 2022. The catchment of an existing school or schools would need to be extended to include the area currently served by Woodfield Community Primary School. Options for consideration include:

  • The whole of the current Woodfield School catchment area to become part of the catchment area for Grove Road Primary School.
  • The whole of the current Woodfield School catchment area to become part of the catchment area for Bilton Grange Primary School.
  • Some form of shared or split arrangement involving both Grove Road and Bilton Grange Schools.

We would welcome any feedback during the consultation period on these options and any alternatives to them. Views received will undergo a formal review, which will be considered by the council’s executive before any further action is taken.

Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, member for education and skills, said: “Woodfield Community Primary School governors, together with North Yorkshire County Council, have worked extremely hard to find a solution which would see the school remain open but, sadly, this has not produced any viable options.

“During the consultation we will listen to parents’ views, we will also review the opinions of other groups involved with the school. Everyone will be given the opportunity to contribute.”

Governors of Woodfield Community Primary School asked the county council to begin a consultation which would look at potentially closing the school, following careful consideration of the school’s position.

The school received an inadequate Ofsted judgement following an inspection in January 2020, which required it to become a sponsored academy. The Regional Schools Commissioner was unable to secure a multi-academy trust to sponsor the school due to viability concerns.

It prompted, the school’s governing body to work with Grove Road Community Primary in Harrogate, to explore combining the two schools in order to share the benefit of both schools sites, which would have seen Woodfield school technically close and become part of Grove Road from September 2022.

An extensive consultation process was undertaken involving public meetings and gathering the views of parents and the local community, but eventually, Grove Road Community Primary School decided, with regret, to withdraw its support for the amalgamation.

Now the executive have agreed to a proposal from the governing body of Woodfield school, to begin a public consultation on potentially closing the primary.

The governing body of Woodfield Community Primary School said the governors had worked hard to find a positive solution for the school, exploring every available avenue.

They added in a statement: “Unfortunately, it is our conclusion that we have exhausted all options that are available.

“It is with a very heavy heart that the governors of Woodfield school have had to ask the county council to begin the consultation process for closure.’’  

Feedback received during the consultation will undergo a formal review, which will be considered by North Yorkshire County Council’s executive before any further action is taken.

Take part in the consultation.

For parents of pupils currently attending Woodfield Community Primary School, an admissions preference exercise will be undertaken. Through this exercise, parents/carers will be asked to apply for the preferred school(s) they would like their child to transfer to in the event of closure, or earlier if they wish.

The overall intention will be to ensure fairness around the school transfer process in the event that a decision is ultimately taken to close the school. It will allow the local authority to apply consideration of admissions criteria to each request and avoid allocating places on a first-come, first-served basis.

Our Admissions Team is always happy to give advice to parents and can be contacted at; schooladmissions@northyorks.gov.uk.