Government to decide on plan to close tiny Norfolk school

Wormegay Primary School, near King's Lynn.

Wormegay Primary School, near King's Lynn. - Credit: Sarah Hussain

The government has been asked to make the final decision on controversial plans to close a Norfolk primary school.

Proposals to shut Wormegay Primary School, near King's Lynn, with pupils transferring to a merged school called Holy Cross Academy in Runcton Holme, have been backed by the regional education chiefs.

Campaigners have opposed the close of Wormegay Primary School.

Campaigners have opposed the close of Wormegay Primary School. - Credit: Submitted

Published notes from a meeting of the Regional Schools' Commissioners headteacher's board, which considered the plans in April, recommend the proposal go ahead because members “regrettably saw no other option”. 

“The board noted that the Ofsted recommendations of both schools were similar and had similar viability issues so made logical sense to merge the two,” it added. 

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, on a visit to Wormegay Primary School in 2020.

Elizabeth Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, on a visit to Wormegay Primary School in 2020. - Credit: DEMAT

The governing body of both existing schools, the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), has said amalgamation was necessary due to falling numbers at Wormegay, which currently has just 26 pupils

The existing Runcton Holme Primary School, three miles away, has a capacity of 70 pupils but has 35 on its roll.
Opponents who have campaigned against the plans have been offered a glimmer of hope after the regional body "escalated" the final say to ministers. 

Runcton Holme Primary School.

Runcton Holme Primary School.  - Credit: Archant

Dozens of parents, pupils, staff and members of the community took part in a consultation, with 57.7pc in favour, 40pc opposed and 21pc expressing no opinion.

Those opposed feared the closure of the school would see the village lose its last facility and force parents to drive their children to and from school.

Following the outcome of the consultation, campaign group Save Wormegay School posted on social media: “Sadly our efforts to save our school have failed and the school will close at the end of this school year after 181 years. 

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“We are very disappointed in the outcome. This has been made more difficult by the fact that due to Covid restrictions local schools are unable to have children in for tours or taster days during school hours. This makes it very difficult to find a new school for September.”

Adrian Ball, the new director of learning at the Inspiration Trust.

Adrian Ball, chief executive of Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust - Credit: Archant

Adrian Ball, DEMAT chief executive, said: “Our priority is to provide a sustainable model of high-quality education for all children within the three parishes and we feel that the referral to the minister shows that this matter is important for everyone involved.”

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