One of Norfolk’s smallest schools will close after 167 years

William Marshall Primary School, Welney.

William Marshall Primary School, Welney. - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

The 167-year history of one of Norfolk's smallest schools will come to an end at Christmas after hopes for a last-minute reprieve were dashed.

William Marshall Primary, in Welney, was originally set to close in August, after governors said they were unable to bring about the 'significant improvement needed' to give children a good enough education.

However, its closure was postponed on June 30 after the council said it needed more time to examine a submission by the William Marshall Parents' Committee.

However, after starting term last month with 20 pupils, the council issued a statutory public notice to close it on December 31, opening a four week period for comments.

Now, Michael Rosen, the council's executive director Children's Services, has signed the determination notice that has sealed the school's fate.

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On the school's website, headteacher James McBurney said: 'It is with great sadness and regret that we have to accept Norfolk Children's Services decision to recommend the closure of William Marshall School.

'A big thank you, from everyone in the school, to all members of our community who battled bravely to save our school.'

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A Norfolk County Council spokesman said: 'It is always sad when a village loses its school and closure decisions are never taken lightly, but the director's decision completes the process for formal closure on December 31, 2015.

'In the end, in spite of the work put in by the parents, we were forced to conclude that this very small school, with no permanent headteacher and an expected budget deficit, did not have a viable future. This followed the governors' decision in April that the school could no longer offer its pupils a good standard of education and should close.'

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