Primary school will temporarily close to avoid funding shortfall

As reported by the Shropshire Star, a primary school in the area is preparing to temporarily close in January 2020, in order to ensure funding is not lost

A school in Shropshire will close its doors in January 2020 and re-open in 2021 to avoid a funding shortfall.

Stiperstones C of E Primary School will move its 38 pupils to Norbury or Chirbury schools in January 2020 and remain closed for over a year.

This is because the school doesn’t have any pupils ready to start school in September 2020, which would lead to a shortfall in funding.

The Shropshire Hills Federation, which runs the schools, promised that the closure is only temporary.

Shropshire Council leader, Peter Nutting, commented: “This is a good example of how to manage small rural schools. You are making it work for your own benefit.”

Councillor Heather Kidd, a member of the federation, confirmed that it was not the end for the school.

“We have applied to move the children currently there to either Norbury or, if the parents’ wish, Chirbury,” she said.

“They are both under our federation and we think it makes sense because there is no intake planned next time for Stiperstones.

“There is an intake in two years time, so it would be up and running again.

“It is all about managing our resources as best as we can.”

Karen Bradshaw, director of children’s services at Shropshire Council, said in a report: “The recommendation of the director of children’s services is to agree the prescribed alterations so that the governing body can proceed from January 2020.”

“On February 27, 2019, the governing body of the Shropshire Hills Federation agreed to formally consult on the proposal to transfer provision for the education of the pupils at Stiperstones to the site of Norbury Primary School and Nursery, with the opportunity for parents to opt to have their children educated at the Federation’s other school, Chirbury CE Primary School.

“A statutory four-week consultation was undertaken. A governing body can propose the transfer, but it is the local authority that is the decision-maker.

“Following a separate consultation in the summer of 2018, the Federation of the primary schools in Chirbury, Norbury and Stiperstones was approved and the Shropshire Hills Federation established in September 2018.

“This consultation made it clear that unless significant increases in school funding were identified by December 2018 to support provision at Stiperstones CE Primary, it was likely that provision would have to transfer to the primary school sites at Norbury or Chirbury, with parents having the option to choose

“As the schools funding position has not improved, the governing body of the Shropshire Hills Federation agreed at a meeting on February 27, to undertake a statutory consultation on the transfer of provision from Stiperstones CE Primary to the Norbury Primary, with an option for parents to elect for their children to be educated at the other school in the Federation, Chirbury CE Primary.”

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