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Parents campaign to keep Norfolk primary school open

PUBLISHED: 10:08 22 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:21 22 March 2014

Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary school is threatened with closure. Pictured in front is Sonia Humphries and her son Elliot.

Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary school is threatened with closure. Pictured in front is Sonia Humphries and her son Elliot.

Archant norfolk

Parents have launched a campaign to save a small village primary school from closure after its governing body said it did not believe the school had a viable future.

Governors came to the “difficult decision” over the future of Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary School following a continued decline in pupil numbers, a consultation document from Norfolk County Council said.

The Church of England school, in Wilby Road, Eccles, has just 27 pupils on its roll.

It entered into partnerships with Carleton Road Primary School, in 2011, and Kenninghall Primary School, in April last year, “in order to secure a more sustainable future”, the consultation document said.

“In spite of this collaboration, a continued decline in pupil numbers and changes to school funding are making it increasingly difficult to manage the budget, and to bring about sustained improvement in educational outcomes for its pupils,” the document went on to say.

However Ina De Smet - a parent who is planning to send her sons Nathan, aged five, and Ruben, aged three, to the school in the future - said: “The partnership of three hasn’t even had a chance to prove if it works or not.

“Eccles has most certainly not had the amount of support it needs and deserves from the local authority and the diocese.”

Mrs De Smet, of White Hart Street, East Harling, added that despite the school’s small size, the population - and demand for primary school places - is growing.

“With several housing developments planned in villages and the nearby town, Attleborough, closing Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary School seems a very short-sighted decision.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said no final decision would be made until at least May.

Those who want to take part in the consultation should visit www.citizenspace.com/norfolk/consultation/eccles-hargham-and-wilby-primary-school/consult_view

Alternatively people can sign a petition against the closure by visiting www.ipetitions.com/petition/keep-open-eccles-hargham-and-wilby-ceva-primary

What do you think about the proposed closure? Contact EDP reporter Andrew Papworth on 01379 651153 or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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