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Village school saw only 21 pupils turn up on its first day

PUBLISHED: 11:05 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 11 September 2018

Parents and pupils and Winterton Primary School and Nursery are angry at the proposed closure.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Parents and pupils and Winterton Primary School and Nursery are angry at the proposed closure. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A village primary school that has dwindling pupil numbers is still set to be taken over by an academy trust - despite only 21 children turning up on the first day of term.

Winterton Primary School and Nursery had been earmarked for closure by its interim executive board and been involved in a Norfolk County Council consultation.

Last month it was revealed that the school board was in talks with the Halesworth-based Consortium Multi Academy Trust about taking it over.

At the time it was said that in order for the process to be viable 40 pupils had to turn up on the first day of the new academic year.

However last Thursday 21 pupils turned up.

Despite the low number, the chairman of the school’s interim board John Organ said that the Consortium Multi Academy Trust was still going through its due diligence process about taking over the school and it was hoped that an announcement on the takeover could be made on either October 4 or 11.

Mr Organ said: “We had 21 pupils come in on the first day. However the good news is that the consortium are still going through their due diligence.

“It is positive they are still going through it.

“They are working towards a decision by October 4 or 11. I am sure it will be good for the school in moving it forwards.”

Mr Organs said if 40 pupils had turned up on the first day it would have made the trust’s due diligence process easier.

As part of the process representatives of the trust are at the school this week, including a pop-up information event today for parents.

Parents had set up a campaign to keep the school open.

Angela Hudson-Jones, from the campaign, said: “So much hard work and passion has gone into believing in the school from the parents, teachers and the community that it would be heart-breaking to see this school close.”

The trust’s principal and chief executive officer Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne has been invited to the school on September 18 to meet parents and provide a presentation on the way forward.

The school’s full roll should number 105 pupils.

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