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School campaigners given shot in the arm after academy trust letter sent out

PUBLISHED: 17:18 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:17 17 August 2018

Parents and pupils and Winterton Primary School and Nursery are angry at the proposed closure. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Parents and pupils and Winterton Primary School and Nursery are angry at the proposed closure. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

Fresh hope has been offered to campaigners fighting to save their village school from being closed after a academy trust said it aims to take it over.

Winterton Primary School and Nursery had been earmarked for closure.

In June, a consultation was launched by the Norfolk County Council over closing the primary school, after 18 months without a permanent headteacher and a dwindling pupil roll.

It led to a campaign group being formed and a petition set up which attracted more than 1,700 names and saw a campaigner contact more than 42 school trusts asking them to consider taking over their school.

This week parents at the school were given a shot in the arm as they were sent letters from John Organ, chairman of the school’s interim executive board, set up in December 2017 to govern the school.

In his letter, Mr Organ says the board has been in discussions with Halesworth-based Consortium Multi Academy Trust, which aims to have 10 schools on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

Mr Organ says the trust has agreed in principal for the school to become part of it and the regional schools commissioner has agreed to it be discussed by a headteachers board on August 23 where the next steps will be discussed.

He says the trust has a “passion” for smaller schools to remain vibrant and viable.

His letter says: “This is a very positive situation, as such a solution could provide the environment to ensure the long-term viability of our school and bring a much wider resource and specialisation base for the school to make use of, thereby providing and maintaining the essential basis for sustainable improvement and promising education opportunities for our pupils.”

He added that he hoped the parents would now consider keeping their children at the school.

The save the school campaign had been supported by Winterton Parish Council.

Eric Lund, parish council chairman, said: “The campaigners have done a great job and its the whole community that has been involved.”

He added with more homes plans for the area it was vital to keep the school open to ease pupil number pressure.

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