Badwell Ash: Parish will support fight to save school

Badwell Ash's Primary School has been earmarked for closure

Badwell Ash's Primary School has been earmarked for closure

A community has been backed by its parish council in its bid to keep a primary school open.

People in Badwell Ash have been left shocked following the news that the village’s Church of England Primary School has been earmarked for closure.

Now after a public meeting at the school last week and a discussion at a Badwell Ash Parish Council meeting the local authority have vowed to write to Suffolk County Council.

Parish council chairman Karl Hortt said a submission would be made to the education authority – as part of the consultation process – to describe how the closure would impact on the community.

He said: “The school is really the heart of the community. It brings people into the village. It means the children in the village know each other. It brings trade to the shop. It means our children are actually based in our village.

“And really over the last few years we have had several planning permissions for extra housing in the village, which have been approved by Mid Suffolk (district council) because we have enough facilities.”

“If the school closes we won’t have enough facilities in the village to support it.”

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Parents said they had been told the school – which has 29 pupils – is not financially viable and their children are under-achieving.

The Venerable John Cox, chairman of governors at the school, has said with such few pupils, it is very difficult to sustain a full and engaging curriculum.

Following the meetings last week, parent Helen Flack, 38, expressed her frustration, saying “we just seem to be going round and round in circles”.

She said they were not being given figures to back up claims about finances and attainment at the school.

She added: “We are not going to give up without a fight.”

No-one from the school was available to comment.

A spokesman for the county council said, despite “extensive efforts”, the school’s governing body had recognised that it would be difficult to maintain a high-quality education experience.

Parents are being consulted on the possible closure and if governors decide to propose the school shuts, they would publish a statutory notice in early July with a final decision being taken by the county council’s cabinet in September.

“The county council would work with the school and parents to ensure that all young people have a place at a nearby school from September 2014,” the spokesman said.

In 2011 Ofsted inspectors rated Badwell Ash Primary as “satisfactory”.