School with just one pupil set to close

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A NORTH Yorkshire primary school which had just one pupil on its roll will close at the end of the year, councillors have decided.

But the future of the Skipton Ings Community Primary and Nursery School site could still be in education, with North Yorkshire County Council in discussion about opening an academy on the site in the future.

A consultation on the future of the 84-capacity school was launched in June after governors approached the county council conceding it wasn’t sustainable. Then, just 42 pupils were on roll, with a further five in nursery. In September, just one child returned to school with the majority of families opting for alternative schools in the area. The school was forecasting cumulative year-end deficits of £117,000 in 2018/19 and £249,000 in 2019/20.

Today North Yorkshire County Council’s executive decided to go ahead with the publication of statutory notices for the closure.

The final decision will be taken on December 5 to close the school with effect from December 31.

If closure goes ahead neighbouring schools will expand their catchment area to cover the area currently served by Skipton Ings.

North Yorkshire County Council said “significant investment” was made in the school when it was judged inadequate by Ofsted in July 2013.

A team of “very experienced” governors and staff were deployed to the school, and when inspected again in 2014 and 2016 was judged as requires improvement.

However, a number of teaching staff have left the school and the school is currently heavily reliant on supply staff.

County Coun Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools said: “At the heart of our decision making must be pupils’ wellbeing and provision for high quality teaching and learning.

“Due to a number of factors Skipton Ings governors came to the decision that the school was not sustainable. Nevertheless we want to assure the community that we are making every effort to maintain educational provision on the Ings site.

“Our overriding ambition is that all children should have access to the best possible provision in teaching and learning and attend good schools or better.”