La Houguette Primary School 'not in danger of closing'

La Houguette School
Image caption Mr Flynn said the reduction was not part of any wider plan to close the school

A primary school is not in danger of closing after deciding to run just one reception class, Guernsey's Education Department has said.

Previously La Houguette School, in St Pierre du Bois, has run two classes, but from September will reduce its intake "due to a decrease in demand".

Frank Flynn, from the department, said parents should be reassured it was not part of a planned closure.

He said it was due to there being fewer pupils than in previous years.

Mr Flynn said when the registrations closed in February the school had 22 registrations from within its catchment area. Due to the low numbers, three registrations from outside the catchment area were approved.

He said: "If you consider that to run two classes we would need about 50 pupils, there was never any prospect of a second class operating this year, on these numbers.

"In the post-registration period some parents have continued to attempt to register at the school and at one point the numbers could have been pushed up to 33 pupils.

"This is not sufficient to run two classes and, anyway, this figure includes out of catchment requests which were only agreed on the basis of the notified figure at registration date."

'Wide-ranging ramifications'

"If numbers are sufficient for two classes next year, then I would expect that to be accommodated," Mr Flynn added.

It is a decision that is being challenged by the schools committee, which believes there were enough registrations turned away after the deadline that would have meant there would be enough pupils for two classes.

Chair Anne Thomas said the registrations were "historically a fluid figure right up until the start of term".

She said the department had not carried out an "effective impact assessment on the wide-ranging ramifications of such a seemingly simple decision to reduce a two form down to one".

Ms Thomas said these included larger class sizes across the island, the impact on anyone moving to the island and children in the same family being forced to attend different schools.

She said the committee also wanted clarification on suggestions the catchment area for the school had changed with children in Torteval being directed to Forest School instead.

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