Parents fight against Welney school closure plans

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A village is fighting “tooth and nail” against plans to close its primary school.

Norfolk County Council is running a consultation on plans to close William Marshall Primary School in Welney by August.

The county states that the standards are not good enough and the school is not viable in the long term.

If the plans go ahead, youngsters will be moved to Upwell Community School.

Parents will be holding a protest Welney Parish Hall tomorrow (Wednesday, April 22) at 7.30pm.

One parent Brendan Morgan is urging people to attend.

He said: “We will be fighting tooth and nail as we want to keep our school open.

“The school is the heart of the village. It is so important to the whole community.”

A total of 24 children are on the school’s books with four more due to join in September.

Since 2004, the school has shared a headteacher with Upwell Community Primary Schoool.

Alison Cunningham, Adviser for School Organisation, said: “The governors at William Marshall Primary School have reluctantly decided that the school can no longer offer its pupils a good standard of education.

“As a very small school, with no permanent headteacher and an expected budget deficit next year, it is unlikely that the school will be viable in the long-term.

“We are therefore consulting on the proposed closure of the school, with agreement from both governors and the Diocese of Ely.

“Sadly, standards at the school are currently not good enough and a quarter of primary school aged children living in the village go to other schools.

“The school is also likely to be affected by changes in school funding nationally, which will mean that it may not be able to receive additional funding to account for its small size.”

The consultation will end of May 25 but councillors will be able to comment during the children’s services committee meeting on May 12.

The decision to publish a statutory notice to close the school be made by the director of children’s services.