Village school could close

Gembling School.
Gembling School.

GEMBLING School is facing closure as part of a review by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Funding problems could see the closure of the village school - which would have just 26 pupils for the next academic year - along with Dunswell Primary near Beverley.

Parents, staff and governors have been informed that the Council is reviewing the future of these schools and a public meeting is to be held at Gembling School on Monday February 4, at 6pm.

A joint statement from Jane Moat, Gembling head teacher and Mr K Tate, chair of governors, said: “Our school community is extremely shocked at the speed of the proposals.

“Gembling Primary School has been held in high regard as a centre of learning by the communities of Foston-on-the Wolds, Gembling and Kelk and by the numerous families who have chosen to travel to bring their children here.

“Everyone in the school community is very saddened indeed that despite every effort made by the school, budgetary reductions, coupled with falling rolls have resulted in the Local Authority’s proposal.”

Mum of four and parent governor Jacquie Sedman, who has two children currently enrolled at the school, said its loss would be a real shame and she has urged as many people as possible to attend Monday’s meeting.

“It’s really important that we keep the school open and the children are all really upset. It’s such a fantastic school, you can’t get any better quality of teaching. We love it and it a really amazing school and we can’t let it close.

“It’s really important to the community. We have lost the post office, the pub and if we lose the school it would be a real shame,” said Jacquie who plans to home school her children if the closure goes ahead.

Paul Butler, inclusion and access manager for the council, said: “The council has not had to review the future of a school for some years now, but unfortunately the national changes to school funding means that we have no option.

“Whenever we review the future of a school, we will always look for ways to help it to become more viable and sustainable, but this is not always possible.

“We will be consulting everyone who is affected by the reviews and take into account their views before presenting any proposals to the Cabinet of the council.”

The introduction of a new national funding formula will take away the ability of the council to include local factors to reflect the situation of schools in East Riding of Yorkshire.

The consequences of the changes will have a significant impact on schools in the area, and mean that many schools will face a reduction in their budgets.

As schools in East Riding of Yorkshire already receive one of the lowest funding levels in the country, this will mean that many schools will struggle financially and some may no longer be viable or sustainable in their current form.

Mr Butler continued: “To help improve the financial situation for the majority of schools, the council has had a primary school rationalisation programme in place for a number of years.

“This programme has been reducing the number of surplus places by closing or amalgamating schools enabling funding to be redistributed to help support the remaining schools. The level of surplus places is still high, however, and this together with the changes in the national funding formula will place further pressure on schools in East Riding of Yorkshire.