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Harrogate district primary school set to close

North Yorkshire Council has agreed to proceed to the next stage of the process to close Fountains Earth CE Primary School in Lofthouse.

Harrogate district primary school set to close Fountains Earth Church of England Primary School in Lofthouse is set to close.

North Yorkshire Council has given the go-ahead for proposals to close the school amid challenges around pupil numbers, financial pressures and teacher recruitment.

The school in Upper Nidderdale has suffered from dwindling pupil numbers in recent years.

In November 2022, there were 15 children attending the school, which is part of the federation of schools with St Cuthbert’s in Pateley Bridge and Glasshouses Primary School, sharing one headteacher.

Early last year, the school’s governing board approached North Yorkshire Council to request consultation on a proposal to close the school after all pupils had transferred to other schools by the start of the current academic year in September.

On 7th November last year, a formal five-week consultation on the proposed closure of the school was launched to allow local people an opportunity to share their views.

Executive member for education, learning and skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson, said:

“I would like to thank everyone from the Upper Nidderdale community who took part in the consultation exercise for this proposal.

“After carefully considering all the responses, it has been decided to continue with the plans by publishing the statutory notice formally proposing the closure of Fountains Earth Primary School.

“North Yorkshire maintains more small, rural schools than any other local authority in the country. Sadly, the reality is that many of our schools, particularly those in rural areas, are seeing pupil numbers reduce year-on-year.

“We have a duty to ensure every child has the best possible opportunity to succeed.”

North Yorkshire councillor for the Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale division, Cllr Andrew Murday, added:

“Although I understand the rational for closing Fountains Earth School, it is a sad day for the community and for the local children, who will now have to undertake a longer journey to and from school each day.”

Statutory notices will be published on 1st February, which will provide the opportunity for representations to be made until 29th February.

A final decision is due to be taken by the Council's executive on Tuesday 19th March.

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.

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