Traveller-dominated school faces closure
A SCHOOL near Harborough whose pupil intake is almost entirely made up from the travellers’ community is facing closure.
Braybrooke Primary School in Church Close, Braybrooke, could close because falling pupil numbers mean it might no longer be financially viable, education bosses said on Tuesday.
Its pupil intake is made up almost entirely from the travellers’ community.
The school this week was still open as usual. Its head teacher Ken Sharman declined to comment to the Mail about the closure threats.
Northamptonshire County Council is launching a public consultation on the proposal following a request from the school governors.
Cllr Andrew Grant, cabinet member for schools at the county council, said: “The school governors have looked at the current and anticipated pupil numbers. With 20 pupils expected to be on the school roll next year, and as a school’s budget is determined by pupil numbers, there are concerns that the school won’t be financially viable.
“While falling pupil numbers are not unusual in small rural schools, on the whole they have avoided closure by working collaboratively with other schools, whether in federations or by sharing a head teacher but so far no viable option has emerged for Braybrooke.”
A report to be taken as a cabinet member decision next Tuesday recommends giving the green light to a public consultation running from September 18 to October 24. This would include a public meeting on Tuesday, September 25.
Depending on the result of the public consultation, the process would then move onto the statutory closure stage with a final decision taken by cabinet in February next year.
If a decision is taken to close the school, all the pupils who currently attend will be allocated places in schools near to their home address, the council says.
The cabinet member decision will take place at midday on next Tuesday at County Hall in Northampton.
Former pupil Oliver Jelley, of Harborough, said: “ ”It’s a sad conclusion to an unfortunate episode. The school had slowly drifted away from its community. I look back at my days at Braybrooke Primary School with great fondness and, if it had worked out differently, I would have loved to have sent my son there.”
The report relating to the proposal is available on the county council’s website.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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