Community rallies round Clapham Primary School threatened with closure

The concerns of residents in Clapham were listened to on Sunday evening at a special meeting held in the village.

Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 12:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 12:44 pm
Parents outside Clapham Primary School with the petition to NYCC.

Bishop Helen-Ann from the Leeds Diocese, visited Clapham to listen to the concerns of the local community about the proposed closure of Clapham Church of England Primary School.

At a well-attended gathering of ‘church in the pub’ at the New Inn, she offered pastoral support for the community regarding North Yorkshire County Council’s plans to close the school.

Denise Wilson, member of the Clapham Parochial Church Council, said: “We are resolute in our support for the school. The church needs to listen to the concerns of the community and prevent the closure of Clapham Primary School; parents who want to see their children educated at a faith school are not being presented with realistic alternatives.”

Church in the Pub where Bishop Helen-Ann, Leeds Diocese, came on Sunday to give pastoral support for the community.

The Friends of Clapham School are submitting a petition with more than 200 signatures in support of Clapham Church of England Primary School to North Yorkshire County Council when the consultation ends this week.

Tracey Bilton, Friends of Clapham School, said: “It’s important our local representatives understand the strength of feeling in our community and everyone needs to express their opinions on the proposed closure of our school which is such an important feature of our rural community.

“Only last May, the school governors met with parents to discuss the current sustainability of the school and proposed a plan for next year to save money. The governors had a strong proposal for the future and were working on a solid staffing structure.

“We were given the strong impression by North Yorkshire County Council the school had confirmed a three-year plan to ensure the stability of our children’s education.

“It came as a complete surprise to everyone in the village when North Yorkshire County Council started the closure process.

“The school is a designated rural school and the council should make every effort to ensure the school is retained – the consultation appears to have been started without discussion with local people.”

Iain Crossley, chair of the Community Action Group, which is working with the school governors, said: “It is important both the council and the diocese have a joined-up policy to support rural areas.

“In 2017, Horton-in Ribblesdale was closed and this year the council has announced the development of affordable housing in Horton to attract families into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

“We understand some local schools are already at capacity and need to ensure children receive a consistent quality education.”