Jubilant parents celebrate saving underfire school
Jubilant campaigners are celebrating after a school under threat of closure gained a reprieve.
Supporters of Easton Garford School though are still cautious as to the long-term future of the facility.
The school at Easton-on-the-Hill is run by the Peterborough Diocese Education Trust (PDET).
Parents were horrified to receive a letter from the Trust in June which seemed to point towards an uncertain future for the school.
The PDET claimed projections of low pupil numbers showing just 18 pupils at the school in 2021-22 will lead to a cumulative budget shortfall of £350,000 over the next five years.
To combat this it proposed sharing teaching between Easton Garford and another PDET school - Ryhall Academy from September.
This week though the Trust sent parents a letter stating that there is not sufficient time to complete the proposals so they are not going ahead at present.
Councillor Chris Close, of Collyweston Parish Council, has been fighting the plans as a concerned resident.
He said: “My feeling is that the Trust still wants to push ahead with its plans but that they have been told they don’t have sufficient time to do so.
“What we have got now is some time and that needs to be used wisely.
“We need to make sure the school exists and that it is one of the best in the area.
“We are in a better place than a few weeks ago and have some breathing space. We will not give up the fight.”
A Save Easton Garford School Facebook page was full of congratulatory message after the Trust letter was sent out.
The PDET letter is signed by Miranda Robinson, chief executive of the Trust.
In the letter the PDET says: “Given the concerns raised by parents and the local community through the MP, the DfE needs to check that all correct proceedures have been followed and that parents have had the opportunity to air their views and have a choice.
“Their requirements cannont be met in time for the arrangements to be made to implement the proposal for next term.
“The decision to maintain educational provision at Easton Garford will require us to make further difficult decisions.
“The funding situation has not changed and we will have to look at all expenditure once again.
“We remain committed to to providing high quality education for children at Easton Garford School as we communicate with local representatives and the DfE regarding the long-term future of the school.”
Tom Pursglove, the Conservative MP, for Corby and East Northamptonshire, and Northamptonshire County Council had also been involved in the fight.