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One of Norfolk’s smallest schools to close

PUBLISHED: 15:02 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 09:04 13 June 2020

Norfolk County Council is proposing to close Sedgeford Primary School on August 31 because it only has 13 pupils  Picture: Chris Bishop

Norfolk County Council is proposing to close Sedgeford Primary School on August 31 because it only has 13 pupils Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

A village school where pupil numbers have fallen by half in less than a year looks set to close.

In June 2019, there were 27 children at Sedgeford Primary School, near Hunstanton.

Now there are just 13, with no new admissions expected in September.

An interim executive board appointed to run the school has carried out a review, which concluded it was not sustainable.

The closure proposal was put forward in March and an eight week consultation concluded on 13 May 2020. Seventeen people responded. Seven agreed, one neither agreed nor disagreed and nine disagreed.

Those in favour said lack of children made the school’s situation “untenable”. Objectors highlighted the lack of community facilities left in the village.

Now the county council has said it intends to close the school on August 31, subject to a final decision after July 1.

John Fisher, cabinet member for children’s services, said:

“It is always sad to close a rural school, but it is almost impossible for such a small school to be viable with the very low number of pupils that Sedgeford primary has. With no admissions this year, if the school were to stay open, there would be no children in Reception in September and there is little or no prospect of any future increase in demand.

“We want every child in Norfolk to be able to access a good education so they have the opportunity to achieve their hopes and ambitions in the future and this is what we believe these changes will deliver for these children.”

Sedgeford Primary has capacity for 63 children. In 2010 there were 49 children on the roll and the numbers have continued to decline since then. Today it has 13 pupils, just five of whom live in the catchment area.

The school has been run by an interim executive board since January 2020. It was appointed by the county council after education watchdog Ofsted said it required improvement.

Hunstanton Primary School’s catchment area will be extended to include pupils living in the Ringstead Parish while Heacham schools’ catchment areas will be extended to include pupils living in Sedgeford Parish.

Comments aabout the proposal can continue to be made until Wednesday, July 1 by e-mail to schoolreview@norfolk.gov.uk.


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