Appendix 6 - Consultation responses - Woodfield consultation

  Comments about the closure proposal. Local interest
1 Sad that this decision needs to be taken. The site offers excellent outside areas not available at two of the other designated schools. In addition there is an excellent library on the same site, a resource not available to any other school in Harrogate. Community
2 An unnecessary move Community
3 I think that the closure of Woodfield school will be a huge loss for the community of Woodfield and future school children and parents alike. It will likely mean that more children travel to school by car as the schools proposed to be in catchment are further away than Woodfield, increasing pollution in the local area when we should be looking at decreasing it and encouraging people to walk more. I also think that the school site itself is a perfect setting for a school and has open fields for the children to play in explore and use in many many ways that both Bilton Grange and Grove Road do not have. There is further potential for Woodfield and its outdoor space to increase outdoor learning for children. It was a truly wonderful school that my son enjoyed, and its such a shame for it to come to this. If the school was still to close I think the catchment area should be split so as to not put either school in jeopardy of oversubscription. Other
4 Closing any school in Harrogate at this time would be very short sighted Community
5 Absolutely ridiculous proposal, the school site along with the other buildings are a hub for the local community, the appealing green fields, the location on a relatively quiet road as opposed to busy main roads either local schools are located on, the ease of access from all areas of Bilton and the safety are second to none. Grove Road and Bilton Grange schools have nowhere near as much space as Woodfield yet are at capacity as it is. Both located on Skipton Road making access and parking near enough impossible and safety concerns for my children would be a huge worry to me. Parent
6 Closure would be madness if the current rate of new housing continues. We need school places more than ever. Schools with decent sized multi use green space are rare which Woodfield road school has, so losing this facility would be tragic for the Harrogate area and spare a thought for the wildlife this green space supports. Also the library and other services could be lost if the school is closed which will impact everybody in the local community Community
7 As a parent at the school we of not want this closure to go ahead no other school in the area is equal to this school despite what Ofsted ruled Parent
8 I think that the council should be able to reconfigure the catchment areas to be able to keep Woodfield Rd school open. If some of the other schools in the area are over-subscribed, & new housing in the area is expected to bring a need for more school places, why would a school be closing? Community
9 My son loves Woodfield Primary School. He started to attend from reception. Both us (as parents) and our son haven’t had any issues. I think it would be a huge mistake if the school was To be shut down. I know many people whom are wanting to send their youngest children to Woodfield this coming September. I hope with all feedback you can see how it will affect all, especially our children. Parent
10 I think Woodfield is a huge part of the Bilton community. Having had a child there until last September (yr6). The school helped my child in many ways that the previous school couldn't. I think it needs a huge refresh and new staff brought in to give the place a whole new revamp. It would be a huge shame to loose the school. Meaning other schools are going to be heavily oversubscribed. And also make it a lot harder for local parents to take their children to schools out of the area. Community
11 Yes it's a terrible choice to close this school. So much history in that school. I was one of their former students and it was a great school Other
12 I think it’s a massive shame to the local Community. The issues with Woodfield however should have been dealt with years ago, then all This could have been avoided! Community
13 Woodfields reputation was destroyed with the allegations made a few years back but in my eyes the council have done nothing to try & help it, it makes me wonder if you want it to close so you can demolish it for houses Community
14 The school should stay open, we are building more and more houses, with local schools already oversubscribed it is a ridiculous idea to close any school. I realise the council could make a fortune by selling the land for housing developments but a bit of forward thinking should be applied here. If an academy can't be found to run the school then the local authority should do it. Community
15 What a wonderful school Woodfield is. I went there in the 70's & my 3 children in the 90's/2000. A school closure means, over crowding in the ones we have, more houses being built. No facilities. A school with a fantastic field instead of concrete playgrounds, rental potential etc. Its appalling! Community
16 I think it would be a massive mistake to close this lovely school Other
17 In a time of huge expansion of new housing stock in the area, it is particularly important that Harrogate not only retains, but increases the number of school places. As Woodfield is an area of considerable deprivation, it would be grossly unfair to expect local children to travel potentially much further afield to attend primary school. Community
18 We need this School. With the right direction and management lets get Woodfield back on track. The site is ideal for children. Play areas location. Please reconsider. Community
19 Don't believe the school should close. Fantastic resource in a green area. Some of the other local schools- Grove Road and Bilton Grange have no fields and are too close to busy roads Community
20 This school site is by far the best in the area - spacious accommodation and in the healthiest location with regard to pollution. It has had a long campaign of bad press and under funding - I believe the most sensible solution would be to cap numbers for the other (badly located) schools in the area in order to spread numbers more evenly. More funding is needed to ensure that local children who live in Woodfield can attend a school close to their homes. It would be much better to close Grove Road and relocate to this site. Community
21 I object to its closure, local schools are oversubscribed, our community needs this provision Community
22 It’s disgusting to consider closing this school. There’s been too many heads in too few years. Wrong selections of staff. Lots of local bitching and lies told about the school. Mainly by people not connected, just repeating gossip. The decision to join Grove Road upset many parents and they voted with their feet. So now the excuse or reason for closure is falling numbers. The local authority seems to have had little support for this school during its difficult times. Maybe if they had we wouldn’t be in this position. It’s ridiculous that this whole area will have no school. We’re told that Bilton Grange is full. That Grove Road is full. More and more houses being built. You must decide to keep this school open and invest in building it up again. The parents deserve this. Community
23 I am not in favour of the school closure, from what I’ve read and seen the school was showing much improvement and surely just needs some more time. More could be done to publicise the changes and attract pupils to the school much like New Park has had to do over the last few years. As a parent of children at one of the other local schools (I don’t live in Woodfield catchment) I am concerned about the potential for over subscription in future years and potential detriment on children learning if class sizes need to be increased. Some children could also have to travel much further to attend schools, potentially increasing traffic on the roads which is not needed especially around the Skipton Road area. Closure seems very short sighted and I’m not convinced the longer term situation has been taken into account. Parent
24 I'm aware parental choice drove the drop in numbers at Woodfield. What concerns me is that there has been a phenomenal number of homes built, likely just out of catchment for Woodfield at Claro Road, Granby Park, which would be easily accessed. I'm not sure about the drop in birth rate, it usually fluctuates, but so many families have relocated. I feel the closure of Woodfield would place extra pressure on schools that are already unable to give children enough space to learn...(interesting that special school population are rapidly rising, as children can't cope in large schools). I feel it is really short sighted of NYCC to close this valuable facility. With the right leadership in place this school could thrive. Community
25 It should remain open and educate the community it sits so prominently in. Closure is not an option, educating our community is! Community
26 I'm opposed to the closure. The school made massive improvements and should be given the opportunity to continue to improve and grow the school. Community
27 It would be a shame for the children in the area if the school were to close. It has great outdoor space which many schools in the area lack. Community
28 This school should not be closed. The appalling rumours and hysterical comments have done nothing to help. But given a complete redesign, rename, rebuild. This school is needed. Please don't close it. Community
29 The school is not fit for purpose and I feel that closure is sadly the best option. I think the other schools offered as an alternative within the catchment area are a big improvement on Woodfield School and equip students with better academic and social prospects. Community
30 Absolutely ridiculous! Keep the school open, it has a fabulous outdoor space, which a lot of others don't. Re-naming it might be a good idea to get away from past stigma Community
31 It seems to me a great shame to lose the use of this great campus. A couple of the nearest schools have limited outdoor space and might benefit from use of the space at Woodfield. Please don't use this as a prime housing site! Community
32 I am the headteacher at St Joseph's Catholic primary School. We did not receive the consultation documents/email. I was forwarded this from a colleague. We can offer places in some of our classes for Sept 2022. Other - School
33 I was a Volunteer Teaching Assistant back around 2011, helping with any SEND children who needed a little extra help with their reading. Even then, it was a lovely school, with very good and caring staff. It would be such a shame NOT to have a school this side of Bilton, I believe, it is still very much needed. It’s equally as important that parents and residents are given a voice and I’m very much in favour of Woodfield Community Primary School being kept open. Community
34 This is such a superb site for a school with plenty of outdoor space, not only for sport but also other activities such as biology / environmental/ conservation education. OK there have been some issues but these can be overcome with appropriate support and good PR. It would seem to be particularly sensible when two local primary schools - albeit not NYCC - have no green space and are next to the busy A59. Community
35 It is so sad to read this proposal, my son attended Woodfield school along time ago, when it was a thriving school. I have experience of the special schools in the area and wonder if the school could become a specialist provision. The outdoor space - the field - is a great asset and would be of benefit to any child, but especially those with additional needs, the school is in a quiet area with a large car park and from what I remember it's all on one level. Ideal for all abilities. Getting down to Starbeck, Knaresborough or over to Ripon in rush hour is a bit of a nightmare and all those fumes, not good for the environment, would be great to have something this side of town and it is on the bus routes. Here's hoping it can be saved, along with the other valuable services provided there. Community
36 This school was built over 40 years ago because there was a need for it. House building was prevalent at that time and NYCC invested in the school through demand and growth. At that time, all the other Bilton/Skipton Road schools were in place. Some of these schools have since been extended but some still offer class sizes in excess of 30 pupils. House building in the whole Harrogate area has not been seen like this since Late Victorian/Edwardian times. Yet, NYCC in its dying embers, decides that one of the most financially deprived areas of the county no longer needs a primary school? This contradicts the decisions and visions of the NYCC of 40+ years ago and goes against the plans to develop housing across Bilton/Starbeck. Even a fool can see that we are only 2/3 years away from Kingsley/ Claro/ Woodfield/ Killinghall/ Bilton linking to create a probable Newtown. There is no denying the school has suffered some unforeseen setbacks in recent years but the more you study this case the more it does not add up. It looks to me that someone, unnamed as yet, has realised that that chunk of land occupied by the School, Social Services and our dear, library is key to housing development. Therefore it is cheaper to patch up/extend one or two other local schools than put NYCC backing into filling Woodfield School again. All the NYCC are doing now is ticking boxes to complete the plan they have had in place for some years now. History will prove me right. Community
37 It is understandable why the Council feels it is necessary to close Woodfield School given the current numbers and it’s financial situation. However, The site of Woodfield school is excellent with a lot of land attached. It is easy to access via the Greenway. It would be the perfect spot to build a new, purpose built, eco-friendly primary school to re-site another school such as Grove Road which is in an old building with very little outdoor space. I suggest that the Council should look to the future and develop the Woodfield site to create a school to benefit future generations. Other
38 Can it be made clear to parents/carers that there are spaces available at the local Catholic Primary School of St Robert's at present and the school welcomes children of all faiths and backgrounds. As part of the local community the school has already welcomed some children from Woodfield School and would like to continue to support the local school community. Other - school
39 I think the school should remain open and be supported by the council and other governing bodies to improve its reputation. Closing the school with ever growing population and housing in the area, will only put greater pressure on the other local schools. Other
40 This is an amazing site. The school needs to stay open. A better option would be to close Grove road and move that site to Woodfield. Grove Road is next to a busy road, with lots of pollution affecting the children plus the lack of outside space and nature impacts upon the wellbeing of the children. Community
41 The school should not be closed. With the amount of new houses being built in Harrogate we need more schools not less. It should have been supported properly years ago not ignored until people pull their children out. Rename it, get a new headteacher and assistant head in and make Ofsted actually do something to help rather than label a school and walk off. Absolutely appalling. Community
42 My child does not attend this school. We viewed it 6 years ago when my child was due to start primary. It felt like a great school, very close to where we live, great outdoor space. It would have also saved us a ton of money in before/after school club. We were concerned about the reputation and (after online research) eventually put two local church schools on a higher preference list. We got into one of those schools. We are not religious but wanted the best for our children and chose the schools that we felt would provide the best early years experience and a good education. At the end of the day religion can be viewed as something that helps develop the moral compass. My child has since attended camp at Woodfield and commented that some kids there (who did go to school there, not just joined for camp) were mean and would be verbally and physically abusive. So I know we made the right call at the time. I know it is not the school's fault and these kids probably/definitely have very poor role models (we did discuss with my child how one of the small boys who was very abusive was then seen to be on the other end of it by his own older brother) BUT as a parent I would rather send my child to a school where kids are less likely to take out their home frustrations on their fellow students. And we don’t need to have these conversations until later. We can't protect them forever but we do all we can to prevent any sort of abuse and bullying. For our second child we will again choose a church school. I think in the case of Woodfield, it is best to survey parents who did not choose this school and get their candid feedback. This would help paint a picture of needed improvements. I am not sure however what would have changed our mind at the time, since us not choosing the school had more to do with the local populace attending the school rather than the school itself bur I hope this feedback can be somehow helpful. Community
43 Given the fact that the school had 1 bad OFSTED and has shown that it has a new team working to get it out this is rather harsh and the fact that an academy chain cannot be found means that NYC should take responsibility for it. A school in that area is needed, it is difficult to predict the future needs especially given the increase in house building and also Harrogate has been taking in refugees and many of these children are still not able to access schools. It vital that this school with its land is preserved and utilised - there is a nature area which could be opened up to Grove Road and Bilton Grange Schools. Save Woodfield School! Other
44 It seems remarkably unfair that the closure of a school is even being considered given the pressures on the capacity of existing schools which is likely to increase given the number of additional housing under construction and those already achieving completion. It has been shown that great efforts have been made to improve the standards at this school despite the pressures of Covid. The dogma that drives the rules concerning closure does nothing for educational standards and is a drive towards commodifying education and takes little account of the human element involved. It is short sighted, destructive and grossly inconveniences local people and once again puts further pressure on transport at school times. Parents will be forced once more to take to the car in order for their children to attend school. Community
45 I am extremely concerned that a valuable resource, including school buildings and playing fields, which Grove Road School, for example, doesn’t have, will be lost to the community. I feel that with adequate support, such as that received a few years ago by Willow Tree and Starbeck schools, the school could improve and become viable again. There are several housing estates being built in the area, and in nearby areas. These are likely to increase the school rolls. Schools are all struggling in the aftermath of Covid, pupils need to catch up, socially and academically, and this means that extra staff time is needed. There is currently extreme pressure on school staff and resources. We are expecting further increases in school rolls when children from Ukraine finally arrive, needing extra help, staff and resources. It does not make sense at this time to reduce our capacity. Other
46 It's disgusting we need schools especially Bilton area Community
47 The governors of Bilton Grange School request that there is some form of shared or split arrangement involving both Grove Road and Bilton Grange Schools. They further request that the school is consulted on as to how the catchment will be shared or split in the next round of consultation. Other - school
48 In my opinion NYCC have failed the pupils and staff at Woodfield school (excluding senior management.) They have also failed the local community. I would hope that NYCC make amends by reopening the school in the current location as a community school serving the local community. The building is ideal and purpose built, has good grounds and is not on a A road. Pupils from other overcrowded schools should be relocated closer to their homes to learn in environment which is healthier, allows more outdoor learning and enables the local community to again have a good primary school at it's centre. Parent
49 This is a response from the Governing Body of Grove Road Primary School.. We had a Governors meeting on Monday (20th June) and discussed the potential catchment area in the event of the closure of Woodfield. We felt that splitting the current catchment area between Bilton Grange and ourselves would be the fairest option as both schools are at, or nearly at capacity. Other - school
50 Woodfield School is vital for the local community, particularly with future house building leading to an increased population. We should be opening new schools, not closing existing ones. The school has dwindled inside but provides an important service for special needs pupils who might struggle in a larger school environment. Community
51 I would like to stand against the closure of this school, my 3 children attended Woodfield and it was such a lovely school. ## contracted meningitis in 1997 and passed away. There was a memorial tree and plaque erected there. I have very special memories attached to the school. It would be such a shame to close it Community
52 I believe that the closure of Woodfield primary school is shameful and shows that the county council have totally neglected it. Woodfield is not in the most well to do area which needs an excellent school. Woodfield has the potential to improve and change the lives of children if it is given a chance. With lots of new houses in the area closing a school makes no sense. Community
53 I have children at the school a the moment, I love this school and the grounds it is on, there’s no other school with the out door space in the area, the children numbers keep falling because of the uncertainty of children a school places one minute it’s going to grove road parents at the school didn’t want there children at grove road so moved there children then was told it was closing so of course parents are going to move there children Parent
54 Absurd to close it, get a new team in and make it work, giving up too easily. Community
55 We need Woodfield school kept open for our children. Community
56 The school building and grounds is a brilliant place for children to learn. Not many schools in Harrogate have that space. It just needs better leadership and more support. Parent
57 I am very worried about this proposal, as in my experience, once a school is put into this process the decision at a higher level has already been made and anything that parents, and interested members of the public do and say is futile. I was Deputy Head of a school where this happened, and despite the community of the school putting up a rigorous and very well supported campaign, the local authority had really already made the decision and ignored the strength of feeling against closure. I really do hope that this does not happen in the case of Woodfield Community School. I know that Woodfield, until relatively recently, was a vibrant thriving community school with good leadership and a consistent pupil roll and I am sure it could be a viable and vibrant school once again given the right leadership and support. In my capacity as a teacher educator at Leeds Trinity University our Primary Education students learnt so much about the craft of teaching from a willing and competent staff. They always enjoyed their placements at Woodfield and Leeds Trinity tutors were always welcomed into the school with genuine interest in partnership learning and teaching. I am sure this could happen again in the future if the school were to remain open. Perhaps a change of name, new management team and governing body would enable this to happen. I understand the rules as they stand mean that a Multi-Academy Trust must step up to take over the running of the school. I am hugely disappointed that it seems none have come forward. I would urge those in power to continue to pursue this avenue for the school to remain open. The school grounds and site is an asset for the community of Bilton and could be further enhanced for community use if the school remains open. It is widely accepted now that outdoor play and access to wild areas is key to support the development children's understanding of and care for the environment, and for their mental health and physical well being. Woodfield school site is a wonderful resource as it is very accessible for children with all needs, and I would advocate greater use of the green space of the school for children with Special Educational Needs in particular as the site is so easily accessible. The school site is ideal for the development of a Forest School and wild area as well as the traditional sports that enhance children's physical and emotional health. Further potential to enhance the site as a rich environmental resource could be realised with the involvement of organisations such as Green Schools Project, Zero Carbon, Eco Schools Award, and many more. There may be local community groups such as Long Lands Common, and others who could work with the school to set up allotment areas for growing produce and to give children hands on learning in growing their own produce. Roots and Fruits on King Edwards Drive may well be interested in supporting such a scheme. This would see many areas of the Primary curriculum being put into real practice. The school buildings are in good repair, (unlike so many we read about in the press), and offer a quality environment for the pupils and for staff to optimise good quality teaching and learning, it is a light airy building offering good space utilisation. It also provides a very vital space for the Community Library and other council facilities, and this could be further developed with the right leadership in the school. I am very concerned that the school has been earmarked for closure as an easy option, and seen as a cash cow for North Yorkshire County Council with the increased funds that selling the land would bring. This must NOT HAPPEN! The irony of developers bulldozing the site, making huge profits from building housing for families who would then be looking for school places is obvious. The pressure on remaining schools in the area would be exacerbated. I implore all those who have the power to make decisions about this school to re- think any closure plans. Community
58 I am against the closure of Woodfield School. The school is in the most deprived area of Harrogate and the children of Woodfield deserve to have good education on their doorstep. The idea that just because there are spaces dotted around other schools in Harrogate is not acceptable. Children deserve to have access to local schools that they can walk to and feel part of the community. Children forced to travel further away to school have more limited opportunity to socialise with their friends and gain the independence of getting themselves to and from school when they are old enough. They become over reliant on their parents or grandparents which in turn can affect their parents' ability to work and earn money never mind the amount of congestion that there is in Harrogate at school drop off and pick up times. The area is already getting older and the lack of a school will discourage younger families from moving to the area. It is failings of the County Council which have lead to this point. If someone had stood by the school during its difficult times I do not believe that the pupil numbers would have fallen so low. It is said that there are enough spaces elsewhere and yet I spoke with a mother who was given Woodfield for her child when it was not her first choice last year which would imply that other local schools are struggling to cope with the amount of children applying to them. The developments on the Kingsley estate are supposed to feed into Grove Road School. This will then limit the amount of space that they have for taking children from the Woodfield catchment should the school close. Schools should not be allowed to have corridor classrooms and move libraries into buses so that they can squeeze in another class to maximise their own earnings at the expense of other schools. Woodfield School has great potential and has been improving significantly. It should not be closed on the basis that the improvement cannot be seen as sustainable because of the temporary leadership in place. Any school's leader can leave at any time and fundamental changes to a school can happen. It is not fair to give a school temporary leadership and then use it against them. It feels as though this is a convenient excuse to say there is no turning back and that all avenues have been explored. People come to Harrogate in part because of the good reputation it has for schools and yet the deep differences between the prosperity of the schools in Harrogate is stark. Look at Oatlands School raising £10,000 at a summer fair and compare that to the situation that Woodfield finds itself in. It is very upsetting that there is such disparity in our town between the haves and the have nots and it is the duty of the County Council to look after and support those who have the least. Other – Local Councillor
59 It would be wrong to close a school and community asset in one of the poorest parts of the town. It is wrong to penalise the people of Woodfield because of a failure of the education system both locally and nationally. It is also wrong to judge it by a false set of standards, there are social and economic problems in the area which affect the schools ability to deliver to the standard of schools in wealthier parts of town. I went to the neighbouring primary school, which at the time I was there had similar issues, it had high levels of disadvantaged pupils and SEN, it may not have achieved SAT results as high as other schools, but it gave us the best chance we had to succeed. I'm currently sat writing a book, without that school I wouldn't be. The process by which this closure has been proposed has been unfair, uncertainty created by the local authority and DfE has led to this situation and low pupil numbers. The potential is there to restore Woodfield School as the centre of the community and give children a chance to succeed. It is the only school in the area with an attached playing field, it has other community services. To close it now would be a failure to plan for the future, you may be able to squeeze children into already squeezed nearby schools, but what about in 5, 10 or 50 years time. It would a better use of public funds and energy to invest in it now than solve problems of your own creation later. The problem lies not with the school, but with the local authority, Ofsted and the DfE. It should not be forced to close because it has been locked out of the academy system. If you provided certainty for its future, both staff and pupils would return, it is the uncertainty that is the issue. Other
60 It was always a self fulfilling prophecy that pupil numbers would fall giving the lack of proper management and inevitable once the Ofsted report was published. Can we please have a commitment from council that covers any new regulatory body that the land will not be sold for housing. Community
61 How can you justify closing this school when you have allowed so many new houses to be built with no extra schools to accommodate these children.. do your job and put money into this once great school and give the local children a school to be proud of… Community
62 This seems a short sighted plan given the comments made about the competence of the new management team and the numbers of new housing being built. In the near future the catchment areas of all schools will need to be reassessed and closing one would take away near future options. Community
63 I believe that class sizes in alternative local primary schools are already too large. Should Woodfield school be closed and the number of families locally increase then the pressure would again rise. Although alternative future uses of the Woodfield site haven’t been disclosed, were it to be used for housing there would presumably be need for school places locally. I believe that NYCC is putting more effort into closing the school than in efforts to find a way to keep it open. Community
64 Closure would be a mistake. Other schools would end up with larger classes, which is never a good thing. Already congested roads would become worse. Woodfield school is on a fantastic site that the children could benefit from massively. Local parents should be encouraged by the council to look at the Ofsted report and not take notice of social media misinformation. This school needs to remain an integral part of our community. Community
65 Invest in and support the school. The children in the area are there to make it sustainable. Community
66 Yup, it's a stupid idea! Only a local authority so set against helping the local community out would shutdown a school. Other
67 It makes no sense to close this school. It should be an asset to the local community, children and parents. The school at Grove Road is located along a busy road which is not convenient for many parents and children in the area. Many new houses are being built and more school places will be needed. Community
68 Yes - the area is seeing a huge increase in new housing. These house's will come with an increase in children. If not now but in the near future. There is no provision to expand existing schools nor build new schools. Yet there is a school that is built and suitable and able to take in children. The school building is in a good condition. The outdoor space is a perfect environment and size but yet its lacking the support from the council to provide staff and assist and even without this support the school was making good steps in rectifying the schools down hill reputation. The only reason that I didn't want to send my school was the uncertainty in its future. Parent
69 The closure proposal seems extraordinary given that Woodfield is a modern school on a large green site in a town with a growing population. Historic problems associated with past management are sometimes mentioned but presumably these matters have been resolved. Catchment is something that requires periodic management. The first priority would be to show support for the school and to enhance its reputation within the community. Not rocket science, but would involve a bit of lateral thinking. Other
70 It will be a great loss to the local community and create a catchment shortage. Teacher
71 I was a teaching assistant in this school some years ago. My time there was invaluable and taught me a lot. It'd be a real shame to lose it as the nearby schools are already oversubscribed. Vote to keep open Community
72 It is of great concern to the community that Woodfield is being considered for closure. If this school can accommodate 300 children for example, that means there are 300 primary school places less to accommodate children in Harrogate. This will have a knock on effect on all the primary schools in Harrogate. The impact of the movement of the present pupils is concerning. It may cause hardship to local families with out transport who will have take small children a significant distance to other schools by foot. Just because the school is viewed as 'unpopular' at present does not mean that it will not be able to find its way back to a more healthy place. The future of having to over populate other schools by the proposed closure may have an impact on the standards of education within the town. Community
73 I think that it is important that this school with all it has to offer remains open and is given more help and support going forward. Looking at the pupil numbers for neighbouring schools I think, to avoid overcrowding, and given possible future housing development it is important to keep this school open. Community
74 Don't close it we need all schools it will only build houses on the land Other
75 Any closure of a school is a loss to the community Parent
76 I am heartbroken and very angry about these proposals calmly children, grandchildren, foster children and childminded children attended this wonderful school and each and everyone has really achieved very worthwhile careers. I have been a # at this wonderful school for the last twelve years ,and I have a very close rapport with the staff, parents and children. Our school has always supported its lovely parents and children and the staff are dedicated to giving the children the best education, welfare, care and support ,for the parents too. We must fight to keep our wonderful Woodfield school open for all our local community. I will do all I can to help with this campaign. Yours sincerely Community
77 This area of Harrogate is highly likely to be the area with the highest child poverty in the area. This impacts the mentality of the parents and consequently small viable classroom numbers are beneficial for these pupils. It’s a lovely caring school and for the benefit of the children, their families and the community, it needs to stay open. Other
78 The whole sorry saga has been completely mishandled. I have no school age children but it appears that insufficient effort has been taken to improve and save the school, and it is naive to maintain that primary school places will not be needed, in light of the thousands of new houses being built in Harrogate. This school needs a saviour. Is there a hidden agenda in relation to this school? Other
79 This seems an inane idea when Harrogate's population is growing exponentially and more schools will be needed for all age groups. What possible logic is there in closing down a thriving school with a good record and when you are fully aware that there is already a need to build more to fill the obvious need for school places? This is a nonsensical proposal, to put it mildly, and also appears to give little thought or are for the pupils and parents at Woodfield. What exactly are you endeavouring to achieve? Community
80 I have several concerns re the proposed closure of Woodfield Community Primary School. I believe the statement re the numbers to be a little one dimensional. The rapid fall in numbers over the past five years has been down to a series of unfortunate events. I believe that if the school was better supported through these then parents would have felt more secure. For example, when the school suffered a brutal social media campaign which online news reporters appeared to embrace. While we were schools across the local area are under subscribed for reception class for 2022/3 this does not appear to be the case for further up the year groups. The figures were also given that the birth rate in the local area is falling. This will not always be the case. There are a lot of homes in the Bilton area where the homes have been lived in for decades. My own parents moved in to their current house in 1969 and still have many of the same neighbours. Unfortunately, these people will not live forever and houses will be sold. A school with the facilities that Woodfield has is invaluable in attracting families to an area. For an area to continue to live it needs children and children need a school. The school itself is a fantastic facility for children. It is all on one level, there is ramped access to the playground and fields. There is an accessible toilet which could easily accommodate a changing bench and ceiling hoist. The school has it's own kitchen and library, but the local NYCC library is also on it's doorstep, as is the local family services centre. The grounds are more than suited for a forest school, the benefits of outdoor learning are well known. It also has more than enough space for a school allotment. I fully believe the numbers will soon return, maybe with a name change but definitely if those at the local authority worked positively to maintain a school on this site. Parent
81 In a town where building overpriced homes has increased far more than the government quota our towns population has increased therefore meaning more children yet no provisions have been made for this. Leave the school, it was a fantastic school in the 1990s. Community schools are needed. Sports should be encouraged and there was even a memorial garden and plaque for #, a former student who died suddenly of meningitis in 1997. The school was let down, it’s students suffered and the general consensus from nearby residents believe it was left to decline on purpose as part of the land has already been given to housing all be it social. If we lose Woodfield School it will be a very sad loss and detrimental to our future generations. Schools in Harrogate are already on the brink of over crowding, do not ruin our future! Community
82 The school is needed in this area. Community
83 Yes - don’t close it. Community
84 I see no reason for properly staffing this school with highly qualified and skilled staff to turn this school around. Promotion of the school by the Education Authority is key towards parents of children reaching nursery and school age. This is a valued community school. If the school closes, it forces parents in to vehicles to reach the school place given to the school in an area not reached by walking/cycling which is currently being promoted by HBC. Other

My name is Paul Haslam and I am the NYCC councillor for Bilton and Nidd Gorge which includes Woodfield Community Primary School. I have also been a governor at the school since the end of 2018. I have been fighting, along with others, to save the school since then - as many of you will know.

I believe passionately that we need a primary school in Woodfield to serve this wonderful community.

Education is the key to better opportunities in life and proven to help people out of poverty. It also helps working parents by having safe before and after school clubs so that they don't worry needlessly about their children while they are at work.

I know that the pupils and parents love the school - we get regular feedback to that effect. The school has always been a friendly welcoming hub with a strong sense of community.

Why what happens to Woodfield School matters not just to us but the impact it has on others:

This school has capacity for up to 155 pupils with a catchment area of 350 pupils, but if you add in the Claro Road area which has easy access to the school through the Nidderdale greenway, then it is even more.

Although North Yorkshire County Council state that there is sufficient capacity in nearby schools to accommodate the children, it maybe that this is not the case for all years or any one with special education needs. I would also ask how much bigger will the class sizes be in those schools!

Will this lead to a dilution of the other schools’ ability to look after emotional, social as well as academic needs of their pupils?

The other thing we should note, that although there is not a lot of building going on in Bilton and Woodfield, Harrogate continues to grow at a pace with many new homes being built. There will undoubtedly be a need for more school places, if not now then very soon. New Schools take time and money to build.

Why the school is in this near closure situation:

If you read the consultation to close document, NYCC start the history of the school as the inadequate judgement by Ofsted, however I would argue that this is not the start of the problem.

In spring 2018, the sudden death of the Head teacher led to instability in leadership and later that year there was an unfounded slur on social media that led to an exodus of about a third of the pupils.

The subsequent Ofsted judgment resulted in a much smaller loss in pupil numbers.

The School was exonerated of any wrong doing and the correct safeguarding procedures were found to have been followed and to be in place by the Local authority, as they were at the Ofsted judgement.

What failed to happen was a restoration of the reputation of the school and difficulty in getting permanent, long term leadership. It has taken time to get back to that equilibrium whilst protecting the interests and maintaining quality education of the children at the school.

The school is now much better than ever except that it lacks the pupil numbers to make the school a “going concern” - the school would need around 90 pupils.

And this why the governors had to request a “consultation to close” They could not create a balanced budget without getting many more pupils in the school.

So is Woodfield a good School – yes, it is in my unqualified opinion, but not just in my opinion. Please read the Ofsted reports that track the schools progress and look at the effort that NYCC has put into the school with the leadership and governors.

As a governor I have been responsible for monitoring the development of the new curriculum and I am delighted at what the leadership has developed – it is outstanding.

Would I send my children there (this is theoretical as I have no school age children) – well yes, I would but like any responsible parent, I would need to know that the local authority will back the school and the school leadership to enable it to deliver excellent, ongoing teaching to give children an excellent start in life.

Governor and Local Councillor
86 The school has no doubt had issues in recent years which have seen pupil numbers drop while surrounding schools do well. I do however believe that standards have increased significantly of late and that the school, its grounds and the adjoining library are a valuable community asset. It should also be noted that the school sits in a comparatively deprived area of North Yorkshire. Surely the route of poverty is education so a facility should be maintained here. The local community is strong and, with some marketing and encouragement, I believe it would reconsider the school. The school is well-connected to sustainable transport and is located in a densely populated area with many families on its doorstep. NYCC should look to invest into turning the school around as opposed to pushing parents and children on to alternative provision already. This proposal seems short-sighted and defeatist. Community
87 I believe the community and the school have been shamefully let down by the Local Authority, there is so much more that they could have done to save the school instead of leaving them in an awkward predicament with no lifelines. The support and reassurance was not there for the community from the off and it is not the only school that has had issues regarding safeguarding and probably became the safest school in the area, these other schools that have had said issues have had more support and have had issues swept aside quickly as they are in a more affluent area. To call Woodfield a deprived area is derogatory to the residents of the area, that the majority of the catchment area is flats predominantly elderly or long standing council tenants whose children have grown up. The other local school is in the area do not seem to be able to accommodate any children that are Neurodiverse which Woodfield have been able to. Ideally the grounds which are all on ground level and accessible by most would make this an opportunity for a school that offers the support and accommodates those that are neurodiverse as the other schools are at the other side of town. Parent