Stoke Ash: Small response to consultation over proposed closure of village school

Suffolk County Council has put forward proposals to close Stoke Ash Primary School Suffolk County Council has put forward proposals to close Stoke Ash Primary School

Matt Hunter matt.hunter@archant.co.uk
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
6:00 AM

One of the smallest schools in the country now has just weeks to wait before it will learn whether it will close.

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Stoke Ash Community Primary School, near Eye, which has had as few as three pupils attending this year, will find out in June whether it will shut.

Only four responses were made to Suffolk County Council’s proposal to close the school over a four-week representations period, which finished on Good Friday.

A council spokesman said these will now be analysed and included in a report which councillors will use when ultimately deciding the school’s fate on June 10.

Only three children were attending the school, which has capacity for 70, in January - a fall from 20 pupils in September.

The school was deemed to be “inadequate” and placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection, also in September.

The spokesman said the council took the consultation “very seriously”.

“We hold them because we want to hear what people have to say, in addition, it’s a requirement (by law) but we generally do want to hear people’s views to help us make the decision,” he said.

Andrew Stringer, Green county councillor for the area, said people were concerned over the circumstances surrounding the proposed closure.

“Obviously the feedback we have had has been of concern about how could this have happened, which is obviously understandable,” he said.

“I think most people understand how it’s occurred but still the public have always asked for reassurances that we have done all we can but some of the county council services are being brought into question by Ofsted. We have little indication of how it could be saved from the Government or from the council.”

The council has said that it worked over many months to support the school, including to forge partnerships with other schools.

But there are situations where schools become “unsustainable” and if closure is in the best interests of the children’s education the council would consider it, the spokesman added.

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