Primarys closure approved
Parents and pupils were deflated and disappointed to be told that Nottinghamshire’s smallest primary school will close in December.
The county council’s cabinet, on Wednesday, decided on the closure of Besthorpe primary, despite a hard-fought campaign by parents, pupils and staff to save it.
The Advertiser backed their fight with front-page coverage of how pupils recorded a CD in a bid to save their school, which is to close because of falling pupil numbers.
Two parents at Wednesday’s meeting, Mrs Yvonne Custance, of West Lane, Girton, and Mrs Maria Hewitt (40) of Swinderby Road, Collingham, said they were exhausted by the fight.
Mrs Custance, whose daughter, Verity (9) is a pupil at Besthorpe, said the children would be disappointed and she was deflated by the decision.
“They keep saying it is best for the children but the children are happy there and if the county council had spent more than half an hour at the school they would know that,” Mrs Custance said.
“I’m absolutely gutted. We’ve tried everything we could have done and we’re upset for the children.”
She hoped the council would make sure the school building was taken care of.
“We don’t want to see it vandalised or destroyed because it has great sentimental value for us,” she said.
Mrs Hewitt thought that the proposal to close had made her triplets, Ella (9) Millie and Jake, feel insecure.
“It’s been stressful for all the children and there is not a nice atmosphere at the school now,” Mrs Hewitt said.
She criticised the council and said they could have done more to help the school attract pupils.
She said: “We feel like the decision to close the school was made four years ago. We’ve had no help to publicise ourselves and we feel we could have had more help to build up pupil numbers and let people know about us.”
The proposal to shut was put forward by the cabinet member for children and young people, Mrs Joyce Bosnjak.
Mrs Bosnjak said she was impressed with the way staff, parents, governors and the Friends of Besthorpe School had campaigned.
But she said: “We have no alternative but to propose the closure of the school.
“I have had meetings with the Friends of Besthorpe School, visited the school, spoken to children and staff and in my consideration it is in the best interest of the pupils.”
The school costs about £155,000 a year to run and has 15 pupils.
The county councillor for the Collingham area, Mr Vincent Dobson, spoke against the proposals.
He said: “I’m very disappointed. The friends of the school got many signatures and letters regarding closure of the school and did everything to keep it open.
“We’re talking about saving £155,000 if we closed it and Besthorpe itself is worth more than that.
“The school is part of the village. It is the heart of the village and a great asset to the village. Everyone tried to keep it going and I think we could keep it going.”
Mr Dobson asked the county council to consider giving the school building to Besthorpe Parish Meeting.
He said: “They would be the best people to take over the school.”