York & North Yorkshire

Primary school with 12 pupils to close in July

Horton-in-Ribblesdale school
Image caption The school has only 12 pupils

A tiny primary school with just 12 students is to close in July.

North Yorkshire County Council has decided to shut Horton-in-Ribblesdale Church of England (CoE) Primary School because of falling pupil numbers and its "financial viability".

All the children will be moved five miles (8km) away to Austwick (CoE) Primary School.

One parent had previously opposed the closure describing the school as "a hub of the village".

The authority initially planned to shut the school in April, but after a meeting on Tuesday has now agreed to appoint a headteacher on an interim basis for the children to continue to the end of the summer term.

Councillor Arthur Barker said: "We do not take the decision lightly... and we do our best to support our small schools."

He said there were "real concerns" about the school's quality and breadth of education and "for the school's financial viability".

'No potential'

Student numbers are expected to drop to 10 in eight months and eight in October 2018, the authority said.

In a statement, the council said alternative options had been explored "but no other school currently is prepared to enter into a federation with Horton".

"There is no potential for the school to convert to academy status or to join a multi-academy trust because it would not meet tests of due diligence due to its small size."

Of the 12 pupils there is only one child in nursery, another in Key Stage 1 and only two boys in the school, which had no new entrants this academic year and no headteacher.

However it was rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2010 when there were 36 students.

Jonty Rhodes, who has a child at the school, said it was "key to this community".

Richard Noake, diocesan director of education for Leeds, said the diocese stood by the council's decision.

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