School closures will be ‘nail in the coffin’ for villages

Campaigning parents organised petitions to help save the schools.
Campaigning parents organised petitions to help save the schools.

The final decision has been issued by East Riding of Yorkshire Council to close Gembling and Langtoft Primary Schools. Dunswell Primary near Hull will also close.

At a Cabinet meeting of East Riding Council on Tuesday 25 June councillors voted eight to two to close the two rural schools, which have been earmarked for closure since January.

Councillor Julie Abraham, Cabinet portfolio holder for children, young people and education, presented a statement to the Cabinet which argued the schools were no longer financially viable.

Parents and teachers now face fears of the impact the closures, due to be enforced at the end of term in July, will have on their children, families and communities.

A total of 10 staff now face redundancy from Langtoft Primary School.

Lynn Wilson, head teacher at Langtoft School, said: “As a school and as a community we are very disappointed in the decision that has been made today.

“Children get first class education here - I know it is expensive but there is not much other spending by the local authority in this village.

“The school is the hub of the village and everyone here will be devastated. We have something good here and that is coming to an end.”

Ward Councillors for East Wolds and Coastal Jane Evison and Jonathan Owen both stood against the proposal to close the schools.

Jo Richardson, chair of the Friends of Langtoft School, earlier this year spearheaded a petition to keep the school open.

She said: “I feel sick to my stomach. Part of my thinks it is going to be completely devastating for the village but what we have now got to do is make sure that it is not.

“Councillor Evison and Councillor Owen have been massively supportive - their vote does mean a lot to us.”

Parent and campaigner against the closure of Langtoft School, Karl Phillips, said: “It is just another nail in the coffin of a dying village - it is very sad, but it was expected.”

David Vulliamy, whose eight-year-old grandson Finn attends Gembling Primary School, said: “The impact on the community will be immense because they, along with shops and pubs are the lifeblood of the rural communities.

“I am lost for words .”

Head teacher at Gembling Primary School is Jane Moat, and there are 26 pupils on roll. At Langtoft School there are just 16 youngsters on roll.

Children at Gembling School will be moved to North Frodingham Primary School. Key Stage Two children at Langtoft will be moved to Driffield Junior School or Kilham Primary School along with the Key Stage One and Foundation Year children.

Dunswell Primary, which has 89 pupils, will shut next summer but it is due to re-open as an academy.