Norfolk

Small schools being reviewed by Norfolk County Council

Small schools in Norfolk are being put under review to see if they can cope with the "fast changing" education landscape, it has been announced.

Public meetings are being held to examine their "future role" and assess the impact policy changes would impose.

The council's deputy cabinet member for education said the review was not part of a cost-cutting exercise and no schools would close "at this stage".

Norfolk has 142 schools classed as small, teaching up to 100 pupils.

All the establishments are primary schools, equivalent to 39% of the total primary schools in the county.

The last review on small schools was conducted in Norfolk in 2002.

In an invitation to the meetings, the council said: "Radical policy changes from the government will, over time, see a much wider range of education providers with more choice, more independent providers and different models of learning.

"On top of this, more and more parents are choosing to send their children to schools further away from their home.

'Children come first'

"We must look at what the consequences of these changes may be for our schools and for the services and kind of support they need and that we traditionally have offered."

Barry Stone, deputy cabinet member for education, said it cost the council about £3,000 more to educate a child in a small school with less than 50 pupils, as opposed to a larger school.

He claimed it did not mean the council was intending to close any buildings.

"We are looking towards what is the best provision for education for the children," he said.

"The children come first - they are the priority - and whatever is better for them is what I shall be recommending."

The public meetings take place in October and November.

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