School needs 40 pupils to turn up to keep going

Parents and pupils and Winterton Primary School and Nursery are angry at the proposed closure. Left

Parents and pupils and Winterton Primary School and Nursery are angry at the proposed closure. Left to right, Alexander Bird, 7, Sophie Hudson-Jones,5, and Oliver Hudson-Jones, 7.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk village primary school looks set to be saved from closure - but only if enough pupils attend it from September.

Winterton Primary School and Nursery had been earmarked for closure by its interim executive board and been involved in a Norfolk County Council consultation.

The board had been in discussions with the Halesworth-based Consortium Multi Academy Trust about taking it over.

On Thursday it was announced that the trust’s sponsorship of the school, which is said to have a dwindling number of pupils, had been approved by a meeting of the regional schools commissioners headteacher board.

However as well as due diligence checks being carried out, the school’s future rests on enough children going there from September with at least 40 needed for the new arrangement to work.

It has seen John Organ, chairman of the school’s interim executive board, write to parents urging them to support the trust sponsorship deal.

The letter says: “The support you have shown the school during the consultation period has been both impressive and important.

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“A successful outcome will be very dependent on the number of pupils in our school in September, and therefore, the future on our school is very much in your hands.”

The letter adds: “Therefore, it is absolutely key to the success of this venture, for our school to have a strong number of pupils on roll in September and I am therefore strongly encouraging all parents and carers to consider keeping their children at Winterton Primary School and Nursery in September to allow this opportunity to remain viable.

“The Consortium Multi Academy Trust has advised that we will need a minimum of 40 statutory aged pupils in September for their model to be viable.”

The trust’s principal and chief executive officer Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne has been invited to the school on September 18 to meet parents and provide a presentation on the way forward.

Mr Aalders-Dunthorne said he expected the trust to pass the due diligence process and stressed the need for the minimum of 40 pupils to make the trust sponsorship feasible.