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Nottinghamshire County Council plans for North Clifton primary school to stay open

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North Clifton primary school in Newark is set to remain open as Nottinghamshire County Council’s children and young people’s committee will consider a report about the school’s future on Monday, April 25.

Declining pupil numbers led to concerns about the viability of the school and a consultation about options for the school’s future ran in June 2021, after the governing body asked the council to explore all options for its future.

The council listened to feedback from the local community, the governing body, school staff and parents, and agreed to take the full permitted 12 months to make a final decision so that the governing body had time to consider how it might broaden its offer for current pupils and families, and potentially draw more school place applications from parents.

North Clifton Primary School. Picture: Google (48496512)
North Clifton Primary School. Picture: Google (48496512)

So far changes have included a revamp of the school’s standalone classroom, The Den, so that the breakfast club and after school club provision could be extended, as well as an opportunity for using the facility as a polling station when needed.

This report to the April committee recommends that the school remains open as part of the council’s commitment to supporting rural schools and recognising how important these schools are to their local communities. This recommendation is also in line with the government guidelines for rural schools.

Declining pupil numbers at the school over the past few years means that children on its roll fell to 26 this academic year. While numbers are set to remain small, the governing body believes that with the changes made, renewed focus on the challenges they face as a small school and revived community support, that the school can continue to provide good quality education for local children in catchment and beyond.

Tracey Taylor, chairman of children and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.
Tracey Taylor, chairman of children and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.

Tracey Taylor, chairman of the children and young people’s committee, said: “We are committed to Nottinghamshire’s rural schools and recognise the vital role they play in communities.

“I am pleased we are now considering a decision to keep this small, much-loved rural school open. Working together with the school, parents and the local residents, we have seen what can be delivered when communities pull together.

“I would like to thank everyone who has rallied to support by volunteering their time and labour or through financial contributions, including the late Maureen Dobson who was a fervent supporter of the school.

“I am proud of what has been achieved in a relatively short amount of time. Whilst the school is likely to continue to face the challenges and pressures that face all small schools, we believe this recommendation to committee will be in the best interests of the children and their education at this time.”

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