Wensleydale governors decide against defederation

The governing board of three Wensleydale primary schools has decided it cannot support the wishes of community members and parents at West Burton Church of England Primary School for the school to defederate.

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Governors of Bainbridge and West Burton Church of England primary schools and Askrigg Voluntary Controlled primary school, which are federated as a single body, took a decision against West Burton’s defederation at a meeting last night. 

This decision follows a period of due diligence when governors met with representatives of the West Burton community to explore their wishes to defederate.

The West Burton community started to push for defederation after the governing board decided in May to remodel the federation in order to address the challenges they face around lower pupil numbers and finances.

Governors believe that their agreed option -  which followed two separate consultations and which involves nursery, reception and key stage 1 classes on the Bainbridge site with key stage 2 classes divided between Askrigg and West Burton -  provided the best educational and financial advantages. 

However, as many respondents from West Burton were unhappy with this decision, governors also agreed to explore the possibility of West Burton’s defederation. 

“We worked very hard as a governing body to agree a sustainable solution which involves the least disruption and continues to offer a very high quality of education for the children of Wensleydale,” said Derek Walpole, the federation chair of governors.  “It was a very tough decision for governors to make and was never going to please everybody.  

“This subsequent decision against defederation has also been very tough.  We recognise the concern of West Burton’s parents and have listened very hard to what they have had to say.  But we believe it is better if schools work together and we must also consider the sustainability of all three schools and what is in the best educational and social interests of children.

“We respect the decision of the governing body” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools.  “Governors have explored the possibility of West Burton defederating with diligence and thoroughness and have listened very carefully to what people have had to say.  The county council will continue to work with the governing body in future to continue to tackle the challenges of sustainability.” 

This story was published 16 July 2018