Once threatened Clapham Primary School reopens with flourish this week

Governors and community volunteers painting classroom one.
Governors and community volunteers painting classroom one.

Pupils returning to Clapham CE Primary School and Nursery are seeing the tremendous strides that have been made since the threat of closure was lifted.

New staff have welcomed the children back to a school that has had a facelift over the summer months.

New teachers, Mrs Hunter and Mrs Stephenson, put the finishing touches to the classroom facelift.

New teachers, Mrs Hunter and Mrs Stephenson, put the finishing touches to the classroom facelift.

Clapham School had been threatened with closure but was reprieved by North Yorkshire County Council in April this year following an unprecedented response from parents and the Clapham community.

The new head of school, Adam Kay, comes from the highly regarded Westbourne Primary School in Bradford, where he has helped other schools to improve.

Mrs Kay is supported by a new executive head, Mathew Atkinson, who also has an outstanding track record in school improvement.

Completing the changes are new experienced teachers for the two classes.

New head Mr Kay and administrator M. Saunders settling in to their office.

New head Mr Kay and administrator M. Saunders settling in to their office.

Chair of governors Marilyn Galpin said: “We are delighted to bring Mathew, Adam and the teachers on board. Their expertise and down-to-earth approach is just what the school needs to draw a line under the challenges the school faced when closure was threatened.

“Even before the school reopened, their drive and energy during the summer break has impressed the governors.”

Mr Atkinson is equally focused on dealing with the challenges the school has faced.

He said: “The governors together with the local authority and the diocese have identified the areas for improvement and we are confident that external inspections of the school will confirm that the changes being made are the right ones; it’s a vote of confidence in the school that North Yorkshire County Council have actively sought leadership for the school and provided the financial support to enable this to happen.”

Clapham Primary School.

Clapham Primary School.

The community that fought so hard to keep Clapham school open hasn’t been idle over the summer either.

Squads of volunteers have renovated the school garden, painted classrooms and repaired the track leading to the school entrance.

Chair of the Community Action Group, Iain Crossley, said: “The community is working with the governors to ensure the school will be there for future generations of local children and the Friends of Clapham School are helping to raise funds and develop the school in any way we can.”

Parents of children at the school have welcomed the changes and share the belief that a line has been drawn under the past challenges.

“We are now looking forward, with confidence, to the new academic year and the impact of a new team,” said Zoe Richardson, chair of the Friends of Clapham School.

“We are delighted to be welcoming new children to the school and celebrating a fresh and inspiring approach to our children’s learning and well-being.”