Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Monks Eleigh: Education chiefs say closing primary school would be a ‘last resort’

12:53 03 February 2014

Monks Eleigh Primary School.

Monks Eleigh Primary School.

Archant

Closing a Suffolk primary school which is down to just 11 pupils after being judged inadequate by Ofsted will be a “last resort”, the county council has pledged.

shares

Following a visit last July, government inspectors deemed “special measures” were required to bring Monks Eleigh Primary School, near Boxford, up to scratch.

Since the report was published, the board of governors resigned and the number of students has tumbled from 30 to just 11.

An interim executive board (IEB) has been installed along with a new headteacher, but some parents fear the county council will shut the school unless student numbers can be boosted.

This week, a council spokesman denied the future of the school would be dependent solely on a minimum number of students attending.

He said levels of student attainment and the quality of teaching and learning were more important than the size of any school.

All schools encounter unavoidable overheads such as staffing, heating and maintenance but they are funded by central government on a “per pupil” basis, using a national formula.

Therefore, the larger the proportion of a school’s budget that goes on overheads, the less flexibility it has to spend money on teaching and learning, which is an issue nationally, not just in Suffolk.

The county council spokesman said: “It’s impossible to say whether or not a school will be viable purely on student numbers and funding. To help secure their futures, we believe that small schools should enter into stable partnership arrangements with other schools so that educational standards can be improved and maintained for the children in their care.”

Despite the falling number of pupils at Monks Eleigh, the council maintains it has no intention of closing the school at this stage.

The spokesman continued: “We are now working with the IEB and the head to develop a strategy to provide for the children the best quality education possible. We are also investigating various potential partnership arrangements.

“Closure is the absolute last option we would consider and only after exhausting all other possibilities. That’s what we’re doing now.”

Headteacher Karen Harmen said Monks Eleigh Primary was now back on track and she hoped parents would reconsider sending their children to the school. She added: “At the moment, Monks Eleigh is a happy school with a positive environment and we are cautiously optimistic that when Ofsted comes back in, they will recognise that we are a school coming out of special measures.

“No decisions have been made about the long-term future of the school and we are a very long way off a decision to close.

“That wouldn’t happen without extensive consultation and all other avenues being explored.”

shares

0 comments

The scene of the accident on the A133 at Weeley between a push bike and a van.

A cyclist has died in hospital following a collision with a van on the A133 at Weeley.

Fire Fighters damping down the fire at The George Pub in Wickham Market in 2013

No progress has been made on the restoration of the pub by its new owners, who bought the site from Punch Taverns for £62,000 last year.

Tony rasping his 49th horse of the challenge - the 1000kg Suffolk Punch 'Oswald' owned by Sue and Andrew Wager of Heybridge.

A vet took on a charity challenge with a difference as he rasped 50 horses’ teeth across Essex and Suffolk in just 24 hours.

Armed officers at the scene of an arrest connected with a robbery in Felixstowe

Four men have been arrested following an armed robbery in Felixstowe on Friday night.

Festival goers learn archery at Mersea Island Festival, an adventure break for children, young people and adults with or without a physical or learning disability, at Essex Outdoors in Mersea.

The annual Mersea Island Festival has seen people try out a range of adventurous activities.

Police are investigating after rope was tied across a road

‘Lives are being put at risk’ – that’s the warning from Essex Police after motorists had to manoeuvre around a rope which was tied across a road.

Writer and historian Dr Mark Felton

A historian and author from Colchester whose book has been picked up by Hollywood has released a new thriller based on another daring Second World War mission.

Suffolk County Council's headquarters at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

The number of high earners at Suffolk County Council has risen for the first time in four years, according to new figures.

Toby Freeman from Robin Cancer Trust, Ben Payne from Reflective Ice Limited and Angie Diggens from St Helena Hospice are teaming up to have a charity night at the Winter Wonderland and Ice Rink in Colchester Castle Park.

An ice rink planned for central Colchester this winter will be taken over by local charities for a night.

Knives handed in during an amnesty at Clacton Police Station

A survey by a weapons awareness charity has found one-quarter of youngsters in Clacton have been threatened with a knife.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages