Two Somerset primary schools to close

Low pupil rolls and a lack of community support has forced the closure of two schools in Somerset, the county council has said.

Binegar Primary will shut at the end of December, while Burrowbridge Primary will close on 31 March 2012.

The schools had previously been reviewed for closure but the county council extended the deadline to allow both schools to boost their numbers.

Governors at both schools blamed a lack of funding for enough classes.

Binegar Primary presently has seven pupils and Burrowbridge Primary has 12 pupils.

'Very disappointing'

John Osman, cabinet member at the Conservative-run authority, said he had fought against the planned closures and extended the review to 2013 to allow governors to find a way to attract more pupils in the future.

"It is very disappointing as I really hoped everyone would pull together and we would see more pupils join the two schools," he said.

"However, they are now so small that I am concerned about the standards of education and feel that the only fair choice for the children at the schools is for both of them to close."

Both schools have federated with nearby schools in recent years.

The federated governing body of Burrowbridge and Stoke St Gregory said it was in the best educational interests to close.

Chair of governors Adrian Stables, said: "The budget was due to be reduced at the end of the year so the school could only be funded for two classes in the morning and one class in the afternoon, the governors felt that was unsustainable and not in the best interest of the pupils."

Governors at the federated Oakhill and Binegar Church of England School had started a consultation on the closure of Binegar.

Chair of governors Dee Smith said: "The reason why we're in this position is because guaranteed funding for two classes was withdrawn from April this year, leaving us with a budget only able to provide two classes four mornings a week and the rest of the week we would only have one class for 4 to 11-year-olds."

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