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Newark: Parents and friends of North Clifton Primary School launch petition to keep it open

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Parents and friends of a school, due to have just two reception children in September, have launched a petition to keep it open.

It is in response to a consultation over the future of North Clifton Primary School after its pupil roll decreased from 36 to 26 over the last five years.

The petition organisers believe the school, which has been in the village for more than 145 years, should be retained.

North Clifton Primary School. Picture: Google
North Clifton Primary School. Picture: Google

“We understand the Department for Education wants to retain small rural schools, therefore, we request that Nottinghamshire County Council assist the governors and the community in retaining the school,” said the petition.

“Nestled in the most wonderful rural location between the villages of North and South Clifton, our school prides itself upon the nurturing family environment that it provides for our pupils.

“We are a small school with big ideas and it is our aim that all of the children we are lucky enough to educate here become independent learners. We believe in nurturing their passion, encouraging their individuality and personalising their learning. Wholeheartedly feeling that children who take ownership of their learning will always achieve their very best.

“At our last Ofsted inspection we were rated good, the full report can be found online. If you do get a chance to read it you will see we were only a tiny margin off being an outstanding school and that is something we are working towards constantly. “At North Clifton we pride ourselves on the togetherness and the family ethos that we create. Everyone involved with the school has a voice and know that their thoughts, feelings and opinions are not only important but are necessary to ensure the school continues to flourish.”

In 2020, there were three reception students, four year ones, four year twos, three years threes, six year fours, four years fives, and two year sixes.

There is no new housing proposed for the immediate area in the Newark Local Plan and so admission numbers are not expected to increase.

Initial consultation on the future of the school would include the exploration of options, including federation with another maintained school; amalgamation with another maintained school, academisation, and closure.

Rob Cook, executive head of North Clifton Primary School, said: “We are really disappointed to find ourselves in this situation. We are a small rural school and unfortunately our pupil numbers have continued to fall over the past few years.

“Regrettably, we have had to discuss our concerns about low pupil numbers and the viability of the school with the local authority so that all potential options for the future of the school can be considered.

“We want to act in the best interests of the children in the community and their education.

“The governing body is very keen for the school to remain open, but are not in favour of restructuring down to a one-class structure, so we have to explore all possible options.

“The governors have written to parents about the proposals being considered by the local authority and hope to encourage everyone in the school family and the local community to have their say in any consultation.”

You can view the petition here.

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