Sedgeford Primary School looks set to close at the end of August. Picture: Ian Burt

A tiny village school with just 13 pupils looks set to permanently close at the end of August.

The interim executive board brought in to run Sedgeford Primary School asked Norfolk County Council to run a consultation on its potential closure after carrying out a detailed review into its sustainability.

Last June, there were 27 children at the school, but now that number has fallen to 13, with no reception pupils due to start in September.

With so few pupils and little demand for places anticipated, the review concluded it was difficult to provide quality education for children now and in the future.

A closure proposal, together with a plan to change the catchments of nearby schools with sufficient places to accommodate Sedgeford’s pupils, was put forward in March.

The council last month confirmed it would move ahead with the closure on Monday, August 31 following an eight-week consultation.

Comments about the proposal can still be made until Wednesday, July 1 before a final decision is made.

John Fisher, council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We have a very clear policy to support small schools so they can provide good quality local education, sustainably, for their children.

“We have worked very hard with Sedgeford Primary – through our own specialist school advisers and by appointing an interim executive board to run the school.

“That team has conducted a very thorough review and explored a very wide range of alternative solutions for the children’s future education. 

“They concluded that, with the very low number of pupils at the school and little demand for places in the catchment, it was difficult to deliver and sustain quality education for children now and in the future.

“It is always sad to close a rural school, but it is almost impossible for such a small school to be viable with the very low number of pupils that Sedgeford Primary has. 

“With no admissions this year, if the school were to stay open, there would be no children in reception in September and there is little or no prospect of any increase in demand.

“We want every child in Norfolk to be able to access a good education so they have the opportunity to achieve their hopes and ambitions in the future and this is what we believe these changes will deliver for these children.” 

The school, which has capacity for 63 pupils,  has been run by an interim executive board since January. 

It was appointed by the county council following ongoing concerns about the school’s governance and ability to respond effectively to Ofsted’s judgement in June last year that it “required improvement”.

As part of the proposal and, to accommodate Sedgeford pupils, Hunstanton Primary School’s catchment area will be extended to include pupils living in the Ringstead parish while Heacham schools’ catchment areas will be extended to include pupils living in Sedgeford parish, a spokesman said.

Representations about the proposal must be received by Wednesday, July 1.  Comments can be sent by email to: schoolreview@norfolk.gov.uk

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