Badwell Ash: Event to mark pupils’ last ever day at Badwell Ash Primary

Parents and children protesting outside Badwell Ash Primary against proposed closure. Parents and children protesting outside Badwell Ash Primary against proposed closure.

Thursday, December 19, 2013
1:16 PM

A community will get together for a special lunch tomorrow to mark what will be the last day their village school will be open to pupils.

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A statutory notice for the proposed closure of Badwell Ash CEVA Primary School - which has only 23 children on its roll - has now been put out by Suffolk County Council.

Representations can be made until January 17, but there will be no pupils at the primary when the new term starts next month as they will have been moved to other schools.

The East Anglian Daily Times reported this week on how there are about 40 schools in the county with fewer than 100 pupils, with education chiefs encouraging more schools to consider federations with others nearby to improve financial viability.

Helen Flack, 38, who attended Badwell Ash Primary and currently has one child there, said the “winter warmer” lunch at the village hall would give people the chance to raise a glass and say goodbye.

The event, from 1pm to 3pm, will be attended by those including former pupils and there will also be old photographs on display.

Mrs Flack, a mother-of-three from the village, said: “It’s just so sad. Everybody is devastated. In all fairness I don’t think it’s quite sunk in yet.”

It has been an unsettling time for the school community since May; governors announced they were going to consult on shutting the school, but closure was staved off by a parent-led campaign.

“Then the governing body resigned and Suffolk County Council brought in an Interim Executive Board (IEB) to manage the school.”

Following an Ofsted inspection in September the school was judged to be “inadequate” and placed in special measures, with the inspector concluding the IEB should consult with parents on proposals to provide alternative school places at high-performing local schools.

A spokesman for the county council said places at other schools have been found for all of the children.

“These children will start the new places in January so there will be nobody at the school,” he said.

The spokesman added he understood there had been just two appeals from people who were not happy with the school places offered for their children.

The final decision on the closure of the school will be made by the county council’s cabinet.