The governors of Woodfield Community Primary School in Bilton put the wheels in motion today for the school to close.
Some parents have been offered places for children to start in September. The proposal is for the school to shut during the next academic year, although a precise date is not known.
A council spokesperson told the Stray Ferret today places offered in September “still exist” but the full implications of today’s news remain unclear.
The governors said in a statement they had exhausted “every possible avenue” and they were moving towards closure “with a very heavy heart”.
The statement said:
“This has been a very difficult time for the school, parents, pupils, staff and governors and we were all hopeful a solution had finally been found with the proposed amalgamation with Grove Road Primary School. Unfortunately, that could not proceed.
“This has left Woodfield Community Primary School in a very vulnerable position and we have had to look again at what options are available for the school.
“The governors have worked incredibly hard to find a positive solution, exploring every available avenue. Unfortunately, it is our conclusion that we have exhausted all options that are available.
“It is with a very heavy heart that the governors of Woodfield school have had to ask the county council to begin the consultation process for closure.’’
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The school received an inadequate Ofsted rating following an inspection in January 2020, which required it to become a sponsored academy.
The Regional Schools Commissioner was unable to secure a multi academy trust to sponsor the school, which led the governors to explore a merger with Grove Road.
Merger talks fail
The move, which would have meant Woodfield School technically closed and became part of Grove Road from September this year, fell through in March when Grove Road pulled out, citing concerns about the level of risk.
Stuart Carlton, North Yorkshire County Council’s director of children and young people services, said in a statement:
“The Directive Academy Order and the absence of a sponsor from the academy sector had left Woodfield Community Primary School in a difficult position.
“The county council hoped that the proposed amalgamation would provide a solution to retain education on the school site, but that was not to be.
“I would like to thank the leadership and governors of Woodfield Community Primary School for their diligence in exploring the issues and I share their sadness that closure must now be considered.
“We will now move at pace to seek approval to consult on a proposal that the school should close during the next academic year.
“We will communicate directly with the school’s parents in the coming days on the many questions they will have at this time.’’
If you have a child at Woodfield school and have a view on what’s happening, email us at [email protected]