Photo of empty classroom

West Woodburn First School to close

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet has agreed to approve the closure of West Woodburn First School.

The future of the school has been the subject of a number of consultations over the past two years, and numbers of students has reduced to the point where there are no pupils on roll and no applications have been received for this September.

The school has suffered from concerns over capacity, budget, and a falling roll.  It had federated with Otterburn First School in an attempt to address some of these issues however the move has not been popular with local parents, who have chosen to move their children to other neighbouring schools.

There also continues to be a decline in the number of children being born in the West Woodburn catchment area, with only one or two possible entries each year for the next four years, something which would have continued to impact on the viability of
the school.

In the most recent statutory consultation, which ran during March and April this year, only one representation was received. The issues raised in the single response were fully considered in the cabinet report.

Cllr Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said: “We take no pleasure in any decision to close a school.  However in the case of West Woodburn this has become the only option open to us.

“We have followed a full and thorough process over the last two years in considering options for the school, and have also supported opportunities for things to improve there.

“However despite all of this there are now no children on roll and based on feedback from local parents no prospect for its future sustainability. 

“Our consultations have followed all DfE guidance and statutory requirements and have allowed the cabinet to make an informed decision today.”

The official closure date for the school is 31 August 2020.
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