December 10 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 19, 2013
The future of a village school, which was saved thanks to a parent-led campaign, is uncertain once more after the resignation of all but one of its governors.
The Badwell Ash CEVA Primary School governors have now asked Suffolk County Council to arrange for an Interim Executive Board (IEB) to manage the school.
At a well-attended public meeting with Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley on Monday, people wanted to know whether the school would continue.
A letter to Sue Cook, director of children and young people at Suffolk County Council, which was signed by six governors, outlined why they thought the future wellbeing of the school and pupils was not best served by the governing body remaining in place.
The letter, dated September 15 and which parents and carers were copied into, said the governing body had been issued with a warning letter on August 9 under a section of the Education and Inspections Act 2006.
It said: “In summary we advised the local authority on September 1 that we were not assured that we could achieve the required rapid improvements [in attainment levels] within a short timescale and a within a balanced budget and therefore in turn could not give the local authority and Suffolk County Council the assurance sought.
“We believe we had done all that we could with the resources available over a significant period of time and with local authority support.”
In May the governing body told parents it had decided to consult them on the closure of the school, saying with just 29 pupils it was very difficult to sustain a full and engaging curriculum.
The Badwell Ash Save Our School (SOS) Committee was formed and was successful in persuading governors to change their minds.
Julie Evans, 33, who has two daughters at the school, said: “I think the general community are really worried. The loss of the school would just be the beginning of the end for the village.”
Mr Ruffley said: “With a likely rise in the local school population, residents asked if it made sense to close down existing buildings in Badwell Ash only to expand classrooms in Norton and other villages. I have sympathy with their view.
“I am speaking to the local education authority portfolio holder as to what they intend to do about this unacceptable state of affairs.”
A Suffolk County Council spokesman said it had applied to the Secretary of State for permission to create an IEB.
John Howard, spokesman for the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese, said: “The diocese continues to work closely with the local education authority in supporting Badwell Ash Primary School.”
The Venerable John Cox, who had been the chair of governors, was unavailable for comment.