Responses to proposals to close Weaverthorpe CE VC Primary School

Do you have any comments about the closure proposal? Do you agree with the catchment area proposals? Do you have any further comments about catchment areas? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? What is your interest/status?
What plans do the council have as regards new housing in the village as it will have a bearing on numbers of future pupils No Sherburn has plans for many new houses so may have excess numbers and weaverthorpe once took pupils from further afield  Once this education facility is closed it is unlikely to be ever reinstated so the question is can it ride a few lean years and be there for higher numbers as the village grows again  Once a school closes the community rapidly declines and new families will not want to move out into a dying village   Community
I’m very disappointed about the possible closure of the school. If you close the school the least you can do is provide transportation for all the pupils to Lutton not just the ones that are under 8. Yes     Parent
If the school now has a competent head and governors who can turn round firstly the educational achievements of the children and secondly the financial shortfall from predecessors the school should be kept open. The children are already showing a marked educational improvement with the executive head in charge and staff and children are much happier. The academy order should be removed and the financial shortfall made up by County for the lack of support the school has had since being deemed inadequate. No Hertford Vale would be a much preferred choice to Luttons primary for premises and facilities but Weaverthorpe is the ideal school site for premises, facilities and distance from Butterwick. Remove the academy order. Put a full time competent Head in charge. (+ governors who know what their job entails of course) Payment plan to recoup financial shortfall. Incentive to stop parents ‘jumping ship’ early. Community
I think it’s such a sad sad shame that we are in this situation when I feel it could have been prevented with intervention from NYCC and a follow up of the warning letter should have happened I also think this will have a massive impact on the children of the school as they have such a long time off due to covid No Not a safe walking route NYCC have through out all of this consultation not given clear answers or had correct information to hand. Parent
NYCC, the governors and the Head (in charge when inadequate ousted given) should be held to account No Parents should be advised/helped with school placements available if the school is to close. Many going out of area - into East Yorkshire for schools. NYCC needs to investigate why there wasn’t a  linty governor involved way before the decision to close the school - Ian adequate safeguarding and debts should have been addressed a long time ago! Community
I believe there are a lot of measures which would help to improve the number of children attending the school but while we have this amount of uncertainty it will be hard to encourage a new generation of pupils.  I knew Ofsted report should be carried out to lift the SM on the school.  Also no pupil should be allowed to move school while Weaverthorpe school is open.  The Governors should not have let the school get into this position. Yes     Grandparent who has lived in the village since 1940
Many representations to the previous headteacher about parents concerns were  expressed by parents regarding the finances at the school, the quality of teaching, the high sickness rates in staff, which left children with a lack of continuity, and high turn over of staff. The LA have a responsibility to ensure that standards of education are being maintained, and when they're not, to put in place interventions in order to assist. I am aware that the LA gave a written warning to the school prior to the Ofsted visit in January 2020, however it is unclear what, if any support was given.  In March 2020, it was clear that a partnership with Wetwang and Sledmere had been explored. This partnership was agreed and due to go ahead and approved by both schools. NYCC have acknowledged in a public meeting, that they rejected this partnership, as they did not want to invest the funding required in order for the Weaverthorpe School to recover, and potentially go on to find an academy. The LA are also unwilling to appoint a permenant headteacher, or governing board, and therefore the school has no opportunity to recover from the 'inadequate' rating, by Ofsted, which was solely based on the management and governance of the school.  It is clear from discussions during governers meetings, that there were concerns raised regarding the high sickness rates of staff, the finances of the school, and spending, yet none of this was questioned by the LA, despite a representative being present.  The LA have therefore sealed the schools fate. Refusing any option presented due to funding has orchestrated the schools closure. This process has been less than transparent, and indicated that NYCC have from the very beginning, been determined to close another rural school, despite government guidance. There were other options, NYCC have failed to take these and have been negligent throughout. This will have a detrimental affect on our community, but more importantly on our children's wellbeing. No The catchment area and proposed nominated school is West Lutton. NYCC has assessed the walking route and deemed it safe. Despite this, they have offered what appears to be a good will gesture to fund the current displaced school children funding for transport. I am unsure of the criteria which would apply in order to prove the walking route safe. The route in places has no footpath, and the areas of the road which have a 'step off' are less than a metre in width. Beyond this is the gypsey race, which in winter fills with water. The 'step offs' are unsuitable for a pushchair and therefore it appears that when the supervising adult has additional children, who are not of walking age, they would be unable to safely walk this route. The route is in the majority is unlit, meaning in the winter months, primary school aged children are expected to walk on a national speed limit road, with no lighting or footpath in places. The vehicles that use this route are heavy agricultural vehicles, and Heavy Goods Vehicles which access local factories. Although NYCC have offered a sweetener, in the form of funding for transport for the current children, they have waived their responsibility for future children attending this school. This walk way is unsuitable for both adults and children, and I fear that NYCC are waiting for a fatality before reconsidering their decision. In addition to this, it appears that the NYCC have failed to address the environmental impact, with multiple vehicles travelling to the school, therefore increasing the carbon footprint. In a world where the cost of living is already beyond many peoples means, to ask parents to find additional funds for travel, is unacceptable and clearly has not been a consideration. NYCC have not been transparent during this process. Despite assurances that minutes were taken in both meetings, these were only put in a Q and A format, which missed important discussions and responses by representatives for NYCC. Holding an online meeting, with the excuse of covid, at a time when restrictions were being lifted and other public meetings going ahead, prevented much of the community attending, and therefore not having a true representation at this meeting. Although the decision was appealed by the Parish Council, and NYCC were aware of many members of public being unable to attend, they went ahead regardless. NYCC have overtly flaunted the fact that they have not followed due process during this consultation, and it has been very clear from the very start that they were unable to answer relevant questions, being under prepared for meetings and unable to furnish parents and members of public with information and answers to questions. I would suggest in future, that before making the decision to close a school, they should allow the public consultation to take place. Parent

Weaverthorpe School closure consultation – submission by Weaverthorpe Parish Council

  • Standards at the school have been improving since the Ofsted inspection in 2020, this can only be shown if a fresh Ofsted inspection was to take place. It is incumbent on the local authority to try everything it can to have the school re-inspected prior to facing closure. The RSC should also be lobbying for a fresh inspection, by not having a fresh Ofsted report, the school has been condemned, as a result it appears the consultation  has been pre­ determined
  • Has sufficient work I energy been put into finding a partner school? The Parish Council suggested that a pyramid arrangement could be put into place with Norton College, but this was not even considered because Norton is not a "faith" school. However the Wolds and Vale Federation is a partnership between Luttons School and Sherburn School, only one of which is a faith school, can this suggestion be fully investigated?
  • We do not agree with the Council's view that the route to Luttons School is considered to be a safe route.  Part of that walk, between Helperthorpe and East Lutton,is along a stretch of road that has no defined pavement. Walking on this stretch of road is very dangerous. Weaverthorpe Parish Council has a Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS} on the Main Road through the village. The same traffic that passes through Weaverthorpe will use that stretch of road. Our VAS,   In it's first two months of operation has recorded an 85th Percentile Speed of 36.3 mph, in a 30mph limit. The section of road between Helperthorpe and East Lutton is a national speed limit i.e 60 mph, with no footpath. In the first two months of operation 102,162 vehicles passed through Weaverthorpe. The main valley road is a busy road and not suitable for traffic sharing the road with young children. We do therefore welcome your plan to provided transport from Weaverthorpe to Luttons School. However, there will be siblings of the children that would have to transfer, in the event of a school closure, so would it not be sensible for any new admissions from Weaverthorpe, be given the same access to transport over a set period of time? The safety recommendation made by the local authority does clearly not allow for the parents and children to have to cross the road twice between Weaverthorpe and Helperthorpe, because the footpath is located on one side of the road only. We would welcome the opportunity to walk the route with your safety officer to demonstrate why this route is not suitable for parents with young children and possibly push chairs as well.
  • When the previous Head Teacher left the school in 2020, why was a new Head Teacher not sought on a permanent basis? The school cannot now recruit a new Head teacher with the threat of closure hanging over the School. From the time that the Regional Schools Weaverthorpe School closure consultation- submission by Weaverthorpe Parish Council Commissioner put the Academisation Order on the school, the school was heading for closure.
  • It is evident that once the Regional School Commissioner has issued an Academisation Order on a school that if a suitable "partner" cannot be found, then that school is on a path to closure as any improvement that is made in the school cannot officially be recognised, because the system does not allow Ofsted to revisit the school to record any improvements that have been achieved. This certainly the case for Weaverthorpe, where the IEB have recorded that significant improvements have been achieved.
  • It is generally thought that lower pupil numbers can result in better achievements.
  • LEA have failed the school by not ensuring the quality of education is maintained.
  • Numbers of pupils are cyclical. One third of the village housing is social housing where the residents change more than the private sector. Pupil numbers were high a few years ago, what happens when this cycle repeats in future years?
  • We would have commented on the Warning notice which was issued by the local authority in January 2020, but a freedom of information request for a copy of this letter, has been made, but the copy not received. We therefore will comment on this at a later date.
  • The rules established by the DFE for make up of a board of Governors states that an LEA appointed Governor is appointed  to represent the views of the LEA at Governor's meetings. Looking back at the minutes of the Governors meetings, demonstrate that this post was not filled from September 2017  (the oldest set of minutes on the website)

The day the consultation began the Northern Echo ran an article on NYCC additional funding for rural schools in sparsely populated areas, such a grant for Weaverthorpe school would be the lifeline it requires.


  • The DFE website states that Governors meeting minutes should reflect what is actually happening and the only subjects that should be classed as confidential are those relating to discussions that are of a personal nature to do with individuals. From the time that the IEB was  established there are references to meetings with potential collaborations with other schools but they are all noted as confidential. All that has been said by the LEA is that meetings have been held with potential partners but were not successful, no details have been given which is contrary to the openness that should be demonstrated.
  • At the consultation meeting on 20th January 2022, no detail of the discussions with Wetwang and Sledmere schools were available. The LEA stated that they would be published but nothing has happened.
  • Cumulative deficit £9K by the end of 22/23,but a further £10k is coming from HMG and £50k could wipe out deficit.
  • No minutes taken from previous consultation meetings have been issued.
  • The Diocese have been taking part in the process to date, but we have had no indication of where they stand in this whole process.
  • If it is considered that the school has some viability, could a retired person be recruited as the Head Teacher, which may result in getting the expertise at a more affordable level.

Weaverthorpe Parish Council facilitated the production of a survey which was distributed to all households in the school catchment area, in December 2021. Following is a summary of the comments made on the completed questionnaires:

All respondents live in Weaverthorpe, Helperthorpe or Butterwick. All respondents said they supported keeping the school open.

1 Thank you for your survey I would like to respond as a grandparent of two children who attend the school and feel it will be a massive blow to their ongoing education and also to the community of Weaverthorpe and surrounding villages. I have made a few points which I consider important when debating the closure of the school.

  • The school is well run and children are doing extremely  well after a poor Ofsted report
  • Why should the children suffer when the school had been under performing which is a punishment to the pupils.
  • After a long period of home school we are now disrupting pupils more by making them move schools.
  • All other schools are not in walking distance. Some parents have no transport or can't drive therefore how will they get children to the school of their choice?
  • I believe a large fact surrounding the closure is cost and running a school which is not profitable although some schools will be in this category others will not. Could we not look at changing this with a shared head.
  • The village will be come a 'ghost village' with no children mixing (due to pupils going to lots of other schools),the church will suffer also.

The house prices will suffer in the village as it is a great selling point when purchasing a family home.

•         I believe there are a lot of measures which would help to improve the number of children attending the school but while we have this amount of uncertainty it will be hard to encourage a new generation of pupils.

•         I believe a current   Ofsted report should be carried out to lift the SM on the school or is this brushed under the carpet as the local authority would prefer to close the school and sell the land for housing!

2. I feel so disappointed that this is even a debate we are having during in such uncertain times.

3. I would be very sad to see the school close, it is the hub of our community, it will have an effect on young families moving to Weaverthorpe. It will also affect my childminding business; I have offered a before and after school service for 12 years. It will have an effect on my business going forward.

4. If the school is closed it does not encourage families to move into the village.  Just because our school was mismanaged 2 years ago it not apply today.  Luttons School have the same amount of children as here, we have to try to keep Weaverthorpe open.

5. My child did extremely well at Weaverthorpe School and now runs his own business. With adequate funding and with excellent management, governance, and leadership this school would once again be an excellent educational facility, a hub of the community and a huge asset to the area.

6. I am very proud of the early education my family has received at Weaverthorpe School. My husband attended  80 years ago. Our daughter went on to read medicine and is now a Consultant Physician at York Hospital.  Our elder son had a successful career in the Police Force and our younger son runs the family farm and lectures at local Agricultural Colleges. One granddaughter  is currently reading law  at Durham University and our youngest granddaughter  is at Norton College in her GCSE year and is hopefully  predicted excellent grades. I feel, as a family, we have much to thank Weaverthorpe School for.  It has given a good grounding in early years education.  It is a great asset to the local community

7. It is very sad that something more could not have been sooner i.e. sharing a headteacher. The school is totally different to when it was given a bad Ofsted.

8. I have no young children but would always support local schooling in a village such as Weaverthorpe. The school is the gell that keeps the Community  bound together. The teaching is far more individual partly because of lower numbers the children grow and bond together  which is really important for the continuation and being part of the village which in turn gives a greater empathy to do your part in supporting the village in later life.

9. I do not have children but I think it is very important that the school stays open for the good of the whole village and its future.

10. My family are 50 and 52 years of age. My granddaughter goes to this school and will be very upset if it closes. She has had an excellent education.

11. My children are older than primary age. I feel that the Local Education authority has let the school down and need to be held accountable for allowing it to fall into inadequate. I wrote a letter  to the school when my children were there, expressing my concerns and I was ignored basically.  I will be extremely interested in helping the school stay open.

12. I am a resident of Weaverthorpe and I do like to see the school open although are children are all grown up now.

13. Would like school to continue but with strong links to W Lutton.  Greater nos. would help all the children in every aspect of their school life.  Taking children out of their community would be detriment at emotionally and socially.

14. Due to working at another Primary School logistics meant they went there.

15. As part of the village community if no school less likelihood of families moving into the village.

16. It would seem NYCC have neglected their duty to ensure that the quality of education is maintained  as prescribed by DFE. Ref: DFE Statutory Guidance Template for Directors of Child Services.

17. If the school had 10-20 more pupils and had breakfast/after school provision then I may have considered it.

18. The school is the hub of the village if it closes the village will die slowly.  It must be kept open at all costs.

Parish Council