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Lack of funding forces Dales primary school to close

[Wednesday 05 July 2006]

A YORKSHIRE DALES primary school is set to close despite initially being promised funding to replace the crumbling buildings.

Members of North Yorkshire County Council's executive met yesterday and agreed with a recommendation from the council's Corporate Director of Children and Young People's Service that the expenditure of £1.1 million on a replacement primary school at Sutton under Whitestonecliffe cannot be justified.

Everybody regrets the situation in which we now find ourselves, and we shall do everything within our power to maintain the standard and quality of education for the children concerned

John Watson - County Councillor

Officers recently informed education bosses that road safety and drainage improvements would indeed push the cost above £1 million - that's money the authority does not have.

Despite the poor physical condition of its buildings Sutton under Whitestonecliffe School is recognised by Ofsted as a top performer and parents who fought for a replacement school will be left feeling bitterly disappointed and let down.

Parents had feared that their children would be sent to schools in Thirsk, and from the beginning of the next school year in September that is exactly what will happen.

Sutton under Whitestonecliffe School will occupy accommodation in Sowerby CP and All Saints RC Primary Schools in the nearby town.

"It gives me no pleasure at all to have to bring this recommendation to the executive," said County Councillor John Watson, executive member with responsibility for the children and young people's service.

"But we have been left in a position where we have no alternative. The expenditure of more than £1 million - of which £750,000 would come from the county council - on a school which currently has 36 pupils, just cannot be justified.

"Everybody regrets the situation in which we now find ourselves, and we shall do everything within our power to maintain the standard and quality of education for the children concerned."

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