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Future of North Clifton Primary School decided by Nottinghamshire County Council

A primary school will stay open for another year after Nottinghamshire County Council decided to defer the decision over its future.

The council's Children and Young People's Committee met yesterday (Monday) and decided to defer the decision on North Clifton Primary School until June 2022.

It follows Newark and Sherwood District Council members voicing their opposition to closing the school last week.

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

Members of the district council's economic development committee concluded that closing the school should be an absolute last option.

If it were to close, parents of children at North Clifton Primary School would have drive their children to the next nearest primary school at Dunham-on-Trent.

North Clifton Primary School. (50866737)
North Clifton Primary School. (50866737)

Parents living east of the River Trent would also have to cross the Dunham Toll Bridge to get there, potentially costing more than £300 per school year.

Concerns over low numbers of pupils and staff at North Clifton Primary School led the county council to launch a public consultation about its future in June.

The school has seen pupil numbers reduce from 36 to 26 over the last five years, with just two pupils starting in reception in September.

As well as considering closure, other options included continuing to run the school with no change, making it an academy and collaborating with another school, such as sharing senior staff and potentially governing bodies.

However, members of the district council committee made it clear that they did not want to see the school closed for good.

In a letter to the county council, Tim Dawson, the district council's lead practitioner for planning policy and infrastructure, said: "While existing service provision in the area is already limited, closure of North Clifton Primary School would exacerbate the perceived isolation of this part of the district and harm any future potential to support even limited levels of growth.

"NSDC recognises the significant challenges associated with maintaining schools and providing a broad and balanced curriculum in areas of low population and therefore low annual intakes.

"Whilst once again emphasising the district council’s preference for ensuring the longevity of North Clifton Primary School, NSDC is committed to working with both the County Council and the school’s governing body to explore all available options and to finding an acceptable and workable solution."

It was also revealed that a planning application could soon be put forward for an additional 300 homes in nearby Newton-on-Trent.

The county council have released the results of a public consultation that asked residents what the future of the school should look like.

Of the 146 responses, 114 people said they wanted the school to remain open with no changes, while 15 people preferred the school to close.

Chairman of the council's children and young people’s committee Tracey Taylor said: “Given the decline in the number of pupils attending North Clifton Primary School and concerns raised by the governing body, a stage one statutory consultation about the future of the school was recently carried out.

“The consultation feedback has led to a recommendation to defer a decision about the future of the school.

“If approved, this would allow more time to explore the options for the future of the school. An informed decision based on the latest information available, including any relevant housing proposals, would then be taken in June 2022.

“The report also includes a recommendation to review the county’s small school estate, in partnership with any relevant dioceses, in a move to strengthen the viability of Nottinghamshire’s small schools."

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