Do you have any comments about the closure proposal?

Do you have any comments about catchment areas?


Do you have any suggestions for improvement?


The school should not be closed, it is a valuable asset to the village and the closure of this school will have an impact on surrounding villages. There is currently approved planning for at least another 214 houses within the Boroughbridge area, we have already have had around 1000 new homes built since 2017. These new homes will have an impact on local schools which are already oversubscribed or near to capacity.

Other village schools within a few miles of this school are either over capacity or close to capacity. I see if closed Skelton school catchment will join Kirby Hill area. Kirby Hill has already seen a huge increase in traffic caused by parents driving their children to school, as they do not live locally. A lot of children come from outside walking distance of Kirby Hill, the village already has a problem with parents illegally parking and leaving their engine running for up-to 15 minutes, this is not good for the environment or the villagers. I have been told by Kirby Hill school that they know there is a big problem with parents parking illegally and the police have been to the school to try to solve the problem but it is still an ongoing problem. Perhaps it would help if Skelton School was allowed to increase its catchment area as there are very few homes, within the catchment area as it is, for example it could include Boroughbridge.

Ex parent of Skelton school and resident of Kirby Hill Village





I am against the closure of Skelton Newby Hall school. Boroughbridge has expanded with numerous new build estates which bring additional families to the area. Surely additional primary school places should be an asset and the school pushed forward to encourage parents to choose Skelton Newby Hall School for their children's education

As I understand the catchment area for the school is small and mainly rural. Perhaps if the catchment area is increased to include some of the new build estates at Langthorpe it will encourage parents to choose the school and take the pressure off Kirby Hill




Skelton Newby Hall Primary schools strength is, and always has been the ethos of a small village school. It excels in the fact that it can offer small niche class sizes, which are invaluable to children requiring this setting, especially for children who do not cope well within large class numbers. During the covid pandemic, when all the children returned to school, there was much less disruption to classes and learning, as the school bubble was smaller resulting in fewer children off sick and isolating. School life returned to normal much quicker than in any of the surrounding larger primary schools. Surely there is a huge lesson here to be learnt!

Skelton Newby Hall Primary schools catchment area, as it is now, only actually consists of one village; Skelton Newby Hall, so there is no surprise children numbers have dwindled, as this area has seen very little development of new housing, unlike the Boroughbridge area which has seen an overwhelming amount of new homes. Perhaps this should of been addressed by the county council, along time ago, as increasing Skelton primary schools catchment area to include more villages my have meant this proposed closure would not be the case. Joining Skelton catchment onto Kirby Hill may cause problems in the future as we see continued growth in planning permissions and new housing developments within the Boroughbridge area.




Yes I think closing the school will be detrimental to the village and its future children

Yes Primary school children should be able to walk to school




I have lived in Skelton on Ure for nearly 20 years and during the first 10 years Skelton Newby School had its own headmaster. Certainly in those initial years Ofsted Reports were good. Joint management of Skelton and Sharow has been in effect for around 10 years and the Ofsted results for 2014 and 2016 were still good. Move onto 2020 under the current leadership and the Ofsted results are ‘Requires Improvement’. Looking at Sharow Ofsted results, again these were generally good until 2021. The evidence given for 2021 shows that, had a full inspection occurred, the result would not have been as high. Reasons given were poor discipline in the younger year groups and issues of bullying in years 5 and 6 not being dealt with quickly enough. A more worrying cause given was the high levels of staff absenteeism. Worrying as this can only have impacted on the amount of attention given to Skelton and hence the reason I mention issues and problems at Sharow. Skelton appears to be the poor relation in the partnership. This is strongly evidenced by the make-up of governors for the schools. Not one representative from Skelton appears on the board and all appear to be associated with Sharow. With a board of Sharow governors, it would be a no brainer that their decision would, without any recourse, be to close Skelton. I am not aware of any campaign to find willing governors in Skelton and it could be that present parents were not aware or appreciative of this situation and possible consequences. The Ofsted report for Skelton for 2020 gives a ‘requires improvement’ outcome. The areas assessed range from ‘quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development to leadership and management’. ALL require improvement, a truly shocking result and it is no surprise that perspective new parents, on seeing these results, would decide not to send their child to Skelton. Even children within the village have been failed by their local school and have attended other primary schools. The numbers attending Skelton, have as a result fallen rapidly to the today figure of 9. Indeed, a shameful failure of leadership.  There is now no Key Stage 2 taught in Skelton. I believe, in line with Skelton being the poor relation that the Key Stage 2 teaching is and always will be completed at Sharow. Another nail provided. The recent history and catalogue of events leads me to conclude that the closure of the school has been very constructive.  I notice that Skelton has an accumulated budget of £109.2k for the financial year 2022/23, quite a healthy sum of money. I wonder why this has not been or is not being put to some good use.  The area is now in danger of losing a fantastic resource with the best and largest outside space a school could possibly wish for. A huge shame after 150 years of history as the school has been a resource given cheaply to the local education of primary age children. It will be lost for good if this decision to close goes ahead.

The nearest school being offered as the alternative is Kirby Hill. It should be noted that Kirby Hill is in the Boroughbridge secondary school catchment area whereas Skelton is in the Ripon catchment. This does not appear to have been mentioned anywhere. Also, there is no direct bus route link between the villages. I note that entitled children will receive free transport, but it will have an impact on those who do not qualify.  Other schools may have space but some appear on the brink of being full. I hear talk of classes of 35 children and, with the continued house building in the area, this situation can only deteriorate. Dishforth Airfield School is at least 3 to 4 miles away and not that accessible for Skelton. It seems that there appears to be absolutely no forward planning when it is suggested that a primary school should be completely and irrevocably shut.

Member of the local community

It was easy to understand but not totally accurate. Is that it? Is this what you call a consultation? I have a lot more to say than this.


This seems very sudden. There does not seem to have been much advertising of the school.  Although numbers have always been low the  performance seems to have plummeted over the last few years. Leadership issue??  I hope this already has not been decided and I hope that you do listen to people’s views and do not just think about budgets.   If you close this school that will be it - we will never have another village school again. As Boroughbridge keeps expanding what happens to the current schools that will be at capacity - stick a prefab building as an extra classroom in the car park???  Surely in the long run it is cheaper to keep Skelton then build a new school elsewhere in the near future.   Ofsted report isn’t great but Sharow is better, how can that be? Surely they should be the same?

Why isn’t it in the Boroughbridge catchment area. It is a beautiful rural school in a gorgeous setting it could be so much more. If people don’t know about it there is no wonder the numbers are low.


Twin the school with a different one; not Sharow, it feels like Skelton has been somewhat ‘shafted’ and all the concentration has been on Sharow.  Has Skelton been set up to fail? Why aren’t any governors from Skelton? Could the school be a forest school?  Apparently it got a bad reputation as it was used for SEND pupils, some who were very disruptive.



The school is not a choice for the large Hockley Croft for the large housing developments at Langthorpe


A separate Head Teacher would prevent the “favourite child” syndrome of the shared head !


I believe the reasons being proposed show a short sighted view of the teaching requirements in the surrounding area over the coming 5-10 years. Boroughbridge has expanded significantly in recent years with further building underway. Ripon seems likely to have a significant expansion on the site of the Army Camp all will require additional primary places. Retaining Skelton gives parents the option of town or village learning  I find the marked difference in OFSTED scores for the two twin schools strange given that both schools share staff & management. So this shouldn’t be used as a differentiator in deciding the fate of Skelton School. It may suggest that the available resource may not have been applied evenly between the twin schools

Given the rapid expansion of housing in Boroughbridge (& proposed expansion in Ripon) there is the possibility that additional capacity in primary education would be required. In Skelton you have that capacity ready to go if catchment areas are more flexibility applied and allow Skelton to routinely take Pupils from Boroughbridge & Ripon. Being educated in a School building is preferable to the Portakabin open which was deployed in the 80’s to address the shortfall.  Worked for NYCC as a bike ability instructor 2015 - 2018 and at that time Skelton school had a mix of pupils from the village and from Ripon & Boroughbridge. It seems that the catchment area or its application has changed.This seems to unfairly penalise village schools.

Village Resident





The school should not be closed and marketing catchment area should be increased to allow parents to apply for spaces from areas and villages which surround Skelton-on-Ure.  Pre covid there were over 40 pupils at the school who came from the surrounding area not just the village, however this doesn't happen know.  Pupils who live in the village now seem to be being pushed to attend Sharrow school which is three miles away.

As i understand it the catchment area for the school has been reduced and parents from Langthorpe 2 miles away are not offered Skelton School as an option.  In my opinion the catchment area should be widened.

Village Resident



Close the school. Its no longer needed.

Its a poor location for a school.


I feel the school is no longer require. We have plenty of school with spaces in the local areas. I feel a school not stay open with such small number of pupils and that being a number of those have to go to sharow anyway so no requirement for the school.


I,m very sorry to hear about this closure proposal. We had children go to our school since 1987, & a grandson was also there until his mother & father moved to France. Our daughter owns a very successful recruitment agency in Dubai, with 15 employees, & our two sons both have successful joinery businesses, one in France, & the other in Ripon. I feel this school did them a world of good.

I would have thought that with all the building work being carried out in our area, school places would be at a shortage, so closing a lovely school in a beautiful area just doesn,t make sense to me.




Would be a shame to lose (yet another) village amenity

Surely, with all the new builds around Boroughbridge, there is a case for having this village school in such close proximity




It is such a shame that other schools are short of space, inside and outside. Skelton Newby Hall school is in such a lovely location with space outside for children’s social & physical development as well as space for three classes - which there were only five/six years ago. Maybe people need to look at the bigger picture.

More support from the local area/ community and estate. No new housing in this area so no new families moving into village. School is not on a commuter route so no one knows it exists.


Information was not current and the method and chronology of information issued was not helpful.


The closure of Skelton Primary School would be a great loss both to the village and surrounding area.  With the huge popularity of 'Forest Schools' in recent years, with some forward thinking and appropriate investment Skelton School could be a fantastic asset to our area.  There seems to have been a lack of commitment to the wellbeing of Skelton School and it's children from the Council in the last few years.  It is not surprising that it has had poor Ofsted ratings when it has been run by a Head based in Sharow. The school needs support from the Council to improve it's Ofsted rating, with a more dedicated staff - with improved Ofsted reports I'm sure it could become a thriving 'village' school and attractive to parents seeking a small school environment for their children.

As I understand it, Skelton School is not in the catchment area for residents of Kirby Hill or Boroughbridge, even though they are only 2/3 miles distant.  With the change due this year to one 'North Yorkshire Council' , this would seem the ideal time to take the opportunity to remedy this strange ruling. With the ongoing housing developments in Langthorpe, Milby and Boroughbridge it is obvious that Kirkby Hill School and Boroughbridge School will both be at or over capacity. Sensible planning NOW, would see the value of an existing nearby primary school facility, which could accommodate 52 children, in a very pleasant setting.  With the appropriate backing from the Council, Skelton School would become a popular choice for Langthorpe, Kirby Hill and Boroughbridge children and it should be given the help it needs to remain open, turn around it's recent decline and it could become a desirable over-subscribed village school.




Failed over the last few years, vicious circle , low numbers. Not as good leadership as it was when my eldest attended

Never mentioned in Boroughbridge catchment. Zero marketing from the school

Past parent



Are there minutes of the governors meeting stating  closure was a unanimous decision?? You Need to clarify this?

Skelton not mentioned in Boroughbridge area

Ex parent

With the school or this form?


Our family have intended this school over the generations and aa next generation comes along where will they be educated??

We need local to cut down miles travelled, why are you closing a school rather than promoting it?




It would be such a shame if the village school closed it is such an asset to the village and we as a community would really like it to stay

Surely with all the new housing estates being built in the area  there should be enough children in the area to keep this lovely village school open




It would be an absolute loss to our village to close this school and lose its amazing setting as an opportunity for local children to learn and grow. With schools so over crowded this little school has so much outside space to offer its such a lovely place for children, especially those who may live in built up areas and not experience the same freedom at home.

If we can't get the attendance from within the catchment then surely it is feasible, with all the new people coming to live in the area, to open up the opportunity to the surrounding catchment areas.

Villager, ex pupil, parent of ex pupil



The Boroughbridge area is having many hundreds of new homes built which will bring a vast number of new families to the area. The children will all need school places. The current schools are already full and some with waiting lists. Why would the Council even consider closing a local primary school when there are children on waiting lists for other local schools? It is very short-sighted. Where will all the primary school aged children go when Kirby Hill, Boroughbridge & Roecliffe are all full? Skelton Newby Hall Primary is in a unique countryside setting which offers a very special environment for up to 50 children. It would be extremely remiss of the Council to lose this unique educational asset when local families will need schools within their catchment area. The Council cannot agree to the building of so many new homes on the one hand & reduce the educational provision on the other.

Skelton Primary is perfectly placed to accept children from the local villages & the Boroughbridge area that is being so heavily developed.

Skelton-on-Ure resident & former parent at Skelton Newby Hall Primary School





It would be a huge loss to the village to close this school. This school has served the villages of Skelton, Marton le Moor and Langthorpe for many years.


Community and ex parent



I feel that it is ridiculous to close a school when nearby areas have undergone major housing development and nearby primary schools will be busting at the seams. Why hasn’t the school been advertised with the contractors?

The catchment area should include Boroughbridge which is actually closer to the school than Ripon is. As mentioned above Boroughbridge has probably double in size during the last few years.

Community & ex parent to the school

Include Boroughbridge in the catchment area and advertise there! There are lots of new families that don’t know the area and are probably unaware that this school even exists.


This school has served many in the village and local area for many years. The family feel and care and attention for every child is second to none. To lose this school would be a disaster. So many children have thrived from the education a small school can provide. Years ago children came from the village and beyond,  I would imagine with all the new  housing around that a school like this is much needed. This school was a great foundation for both my children and springboarded them onto success. We need to fight for schools that can really treat children as individuals and give them a holistic educational experience.

Catchment area should include Skelton and Ripon and Boroughbridge and villages. New housing means school places will be in demand. With the right marketing this school could be filled again and could thrive.

Parent of former pupils



I think it is really sad to consider closing such a beautiful school. The parents whose children attend the school have chosen it specifically for the small classes and bespoke education for their children. The school governors did not consult with parents or teachers, putting parents in a vulnerable position, no wonder they felt they needed to look elsewhere. While I understand that small numbers in school has a financial and social implication, the way it has been handled has put the school in a very poor position to make any sort of recovery.

It is deeply disappointing that local schools, in responding to  enquiries from Skelton parents, needed to offer immediate places rather than being able to hold open places until such a time that Skelton Newby Hall school actually closed. The LA has created a situation that Skelton is unlikely to recover from.




Skelton Newby Hall has provided a sound education for my two children who are now in secondary and tertiary education. The school is in an ideal setting with close links to the local estate at Newby Hall and has access to many acres of woodland and open space. It is disappointing to see the falling pupil numbers are in direct proportion to the communication effort put into letting people know of the opportunities that are available at Skelton.  The emphasis on Sharow school, following the confederation in 2012, is in plain sight and their healthy pupil numbers have been at the ultimate cost of the smaller, rural school.  To remove this school from the North Yorkshire portfolio is short-sighted and one that ultimately has come about through poor decision making (confederating without a dedicated Skelton only board of Governors) and poor marketing - these combining to force pupil numbers down, lessen the attractiveness of Skelton thus creating a weak leadership team. These issues are all fixable and every effort taken should be taken to do so.  The building has little or no rental costs, the school was very successful only 5 years ago, we know why the numbers have fallen.  Fix the fixable issues and the school will be back as a successful centre for learning, providing rural employment, a hub for the village, reducing vehicle journeys and, most importantly giving a small rural school as an option for our children.


Parent of Children who both attended the school, local resident and employee of the Newby Estate



Our local school has been a huge plus for the village, a safe and engaging environment for local children. There seems to have been a distinct lack of engagement from County in keeping the school in the public eye - house development plans with no mention, for example. It almost feels like a deliberate ploy... there are questions to be answered by both the board and the governors. Indifference seems to be the prevailing amotion. Not good enough. This is a living, working village which needs a school supported by the local authority, not ignored.

Far too narrow




For many years the school has served the local community as a valuable asset, my daughter expresses fond memories of her time there and the sound base they gave her to move on in education and now university. A thriving village school helps create a sense of community in many in rural areas and can be a foundation for its young people to interact.

It’s very short sited to contemplate the closure of the school with the abundance of developments within a five mile radius. What provision will be made in existing schools to accommodate these new residents? How would this be managed as the foot print for most local schools won’t allow for extension. Children benefit from been in a primary school where they are known, your proposal would create pressure in other local schools which doesn’t need to be there. In a time where peoples carbon footprint is a large concern your proposal forces more commuter traffic, more congestion and more aggravation on the already congested road network around here at school times.


The local authority should promote the school to families moving into the vast new developments in the area, it could work in conjunction with other local schools to integrate learning and out of school activities.


It would be a great shame if the school were to close. It has always played a central role in village life and has given a wonderful education to children of the village and surrounding areas. My daughters went there and went on to get degrees at Durham and Cambridge. It has always offered something slightly different being a small school set in the countryside which has been a key element to its makeup.

With the large amount of housing development in Boroughbridge it is surprising that there are not children who would welcome a smaller, more family/community oriented school.

ex parent, ex governor



I have previously responded on this forum - but that was before I attended the Public meeting on Tuesday 17th January.   I am horrified by the fact that parents have been ‘forced’’ into, prematurely, removing their children from the school, with indications that if they didn’t do so now, they might not get places.   This is ridiculous, if true, it would be a serious worry for future residents in all the new builds around Boroughbridge. It makes the closure seem a foregone conclusion. I am afraid that this meeting only confirmed impressions I have previously formed ( most notably, a Public meeting to discuss the Allerton Incinerator building), that HBC has to hold these meetings, but they are purely a rubber stamping exercise on a rollercoaster which has no breaks.

Infrastructure does not appear to have been satisfactorily addressed in the Boroughbridge area.   Little, if anything, appears to have been done, over the years, to raise the status and profile of Skelton Newby Hall School - a tragic mis-management of resources.

Community- village resident



The school has been heart of our community for a very long time. My son attended the school, albeit 15 years ago now, but was very happy there. It was always full of students and an extremely lively little primary school. It saddens me beyond belief at how this once thriving school has been allowed to diminish in such a way. There is such a huge volume of new housing estates and developments in and around Skelton, mere minutes away from the school, that it beggars beleive that Skelton Newby Hall School couldnt have been pushed as an option for néw families in the area, to attend. This is shameful. The closure of this lovely school has seemingly been hidden from people's attention. There are many interested villagers who would definitely have liked to have their say far sooner, had the closure been publicised better. It would be a woeful waste of resources and money if this school is simply allowed to close after such a long history, purely due to a lack of effective promotion. I for one do not wish to see the school close when all is needed is are better and greater efforts to promote it.

As there are a multitude of new housing developments within easy driving distance from the school, as mentioned in my previous comment, it would surely make better sense to promote the school within these areas,  via a targeted campaign, in order to fill the available places. It's nonsensical to allow a well established, up and running school to close unnecessarily, without properly promoting it to those people best placed to use it, in the immediate local vicinity.

As an interested member of the village.



I think more time should be allowed to find out why local village children are not sent to Skelton school Perhaps an  anonymous questionnaire could be sent out

I  think it should be extended to include Boroughbridge now there is so much new housing especially Hockley Croft and Langthorpe

resident of Skelton-On-Ure whose children and grandchildren attended Skelton-On-Ure



• Newby Hall Estate have provided this facility for the village and local community since 1856, at a very low rent, as part of its pastoral role for the parishes of Newby with Mulwith and Skelton.  • The school is a little gem with playground, playing field, outdoor space in a very secure, pleasant rural location close by to the major conurbations of Ripon and Boroughbridge.  • Over the past few years numbers at the school have fallen, due partially to identifying it to provide education for children with special needs, which has then limited its attraction to the wider community and losing its unique identity by being “federised” with Sharow School.  • Until the consultation process was publicly announced there had been very limited, if no interaction with the Parish Council or community, advising them of the worsening situation, which may have opened up the opportunity to turn the situation around.  • It would seem that the Chairman of Governors has pursued very few, if no marketing initiatives since his appointment in September 2022 in order to rectify the falling numbers and retrieve the situation.  • We have been told that other similar schools in the locality have capacity for extra pupils yet parents have repeatedly said that they continue to have trouble securing places for their children at these schools.  • Presumably this can only get worse as the new housing developments in the catchment areas for these schools continue to be occupied.  • It would seem that the chart showing future population expansion is only limited to Langthorpe. Surely expansion in all the local parishes must be taken into account in order to provide a true picture.  • It would seem that very little effort or thought has gone into considering how Skelton School could complement the other local primary schools (not just Sharow), which all come under the same Education Authority. Big is not always beautiful.  • Surely it will be more expensive in the future to have to expand and enhance the other local schools rather than maintain Skelton School and promote it as an existing facility.  • Has the cost of providing transport for existing pupils having to move schools been taken into account in the forward budgets – to credit against the costs of Skelton School presumably.  • Trying to comment constructively on the impending closure at this point has been made much more difficult by the lack of background statistics, lack of well-argued reasoning, lack of much needed earlier interaction with the local community and lack of open discussion.  • I think I speak for everybody by saying that this is already a “done deal”, a “foregone conclusion”, whatever you want to call it, that could have been prevented with more forethought and vision for the future.

See above.

Managing Agent for Newby Hall Estate (Landlord)



See my comments above: Better statistics and facts should be provided, without needing to ask for them. Earlier engagement with interested parties.


School needs closing. Children attended the school are left struggling and very behind for their ages.

There’s limited access to the school (Skelton) so it wouldn’t be an ideal location regardless




I agree that the school should be closed due to low attendance and the cost of running the school should be shared out amounts local schools of that age group

Parents should have a choice of what school there child attends irrelevant if catchment area at primary school age





Nor enough pupils therefore school not financially sustainable


There are a large number of Primary Schools in the Boroughbridge and Villages catchment area, down to parental choice.


At the last intake BHS received pupils from 33 different primary schools


Very disappointed to hear the proposal to close the school in August 2023. It's such a shame if the council close the school. Why can't the school or school do more fundraising days and bring the community together. The more locals know of our schools the more infrastructure we can add to Skelton and build the numbers up. It just seems a dam shame if you give the school up with lack of numbers when this can be revived by lots of fundraising and Open days inviting our parents into the school and showing them around. My twins are due to start school in Sept 2024 and this was our first choice. Please consider doing open days and showing the school off. I'd love to come and look around and would definitely participate in fundraising to help for my children to join the school. If there's a nursery I will be joining them from September this year 2023.

Please do open days and be more flexible on the catchment areas. Many schools in villages are often denied for parents as they don't live close to the catchment area. So it's not just about not knowing the school is there, there's that issue as well!!!





More and more houses are getting built, now is not the time to be closing schools

Make the catchment area bigger




I strongly oppose the proposed closure. This small school has played a crucial role in giving countless children an excellent education as well the opportunity to thrive in a rural environment and small classes. My son had been home schooled for 3 years prior to attending and it was the perfect environment for him.  My husband was serving in the army and we had been posted to N Yorkshire. We struggled to find a place for him and came across Skelton by chance and we could not have hoped for a better school. Our son gained  confidence, excelled academically and passed his 11+ which gained him entry to the Grammar school. The quiet village location provided valuable opportunities for a wholistic approach to learning and forming friendships. He took part in orienteering, did road cycling safety awareness, took part in sports activities  and remembers the plays,  and services in the Chapel. It was an incredibly happy school with pupils and staff able to get to know each other in a more meaningful way than is possible in a large school.

I appreciate that the age profile of any town or village will change over time but Skelton will one day have young families living there who need a school. The military community in nearby locations make it perfect for a wider catchment area. My only suggestion is that if you are struggling to fill the school, improve your marketing.  We did not find the school on any lists but were told about it by the head of a school to which we had applied butvwhich was full.

Parent if child who attended 2006 - 2010



It is my feeling that the school has been run down over a number of years. Becoming a federation and not having a discrete head teacher has been part of this. For small children, having to get a bus to school is not ideal and not everybody has a car. The village itself would be affected by the closure, as all school/community activities would stop, although they have decreased greatly since losing a discrete head. I am astounded that the decision to consult o closure has come from the governors. Interestingly, none of the governors live in Skelton, but are Sharow based. It appears that no one in charge has the interests of Skelton and its children at heart. Numbers are small, but this happened 20 years or so ago, too, but grew. Our son became Head Boy at his secondary school and is now a successful lawyer, thanks to his grounding at Skelton School, which turned out well educated, rounded human beings, whatever their background or academic ability.

Kirby Hill and the other schools mentioned are all worthy schools, but small children travelling, notiving in the village where they go to school, is problematic in terms of friendships, personal development etc.

Community. Ex parent governor of Skelton School.



I write as a previous Chair of Governors at Skelton Newby Hall Primary School. I do not believe the school at Skelton should be closed. Over the years it has provided a good education for local children.  Since the school was federated with Sharow there have been problems keeping the numbers at the appropriate levels, this followed the introduction of children from outside the area.  There has been new building of homes at Kirby Hill, Milby and Langthorpe, there must be increased demand coming from these 300 plus homes? The school is in a good location and is well equipped with all the necessary facilities.  It was not so long ago that the lavatories were installed inside and the mezzanine floor put in.  Is this investment to be wasted?  I do think there is an opportunity to move pupils from Sharow to Skelton, as Sharow is running at capacity.  I hope that the Education Authority will think long and hard before closing this excellent facility.

Kirby Hill is the nearest school and has capacity.  It should be noted however that there are already difficulties in dropping off and picking up of children due to the lack of parking and being adjacent to a busy road through the village.


Former parent with children at the school and former Chair of Governors




Small schools are vital for our community. With all the extra homes being built it'll make the bigger ones fuller then local people will have to travel further to do school runs etc

I think catchment areas should be abolished. Some people travel really far for work and it could be easier to have their kids closer to work, they might nit be in a position to move house and even then they might not get grated a place inn school so would still have to travel more. 

Maybe cater to a different sort of person. What about kids who don't fit in main stream because of sen but aren't sen enough to go to a full sen school (hope that makes sense)


Parent - community


Maybe cater to a different sort of person. What about kids who don't fit in main stream because of sen but aren't sen enough to go to a full sen school (hope that makes sense)


This is ludicrous - all the other schools are close to capacity (yes they are) . Seems a very suspicious closure proposal - none of it makes any sense. How can it fail when it’s under Sharows wing? Some one has taken their eye off the ball and the children and community are suffering as a result


Why haven’t they included Skelton in Boroughbridge area?








Skelton Newby Hall Primary School was founded in 1856 and for 167 years has served both children from families in the local village of Skelton-on-Ure and further afield. The proposal to close the school at the end of August 2023 would remove this valuable asset from the portfolio of primary schools supporting the rapidly growing population within five miles of the school. The Parish Council of Skelton-cum-Newby has listened to the representations made both during the recent Parish Council meeting, and at the public meeting held in the village as part of the formal consultation process organised by North Yorkshire County Council.


The Parish Council does not support the proposal to close Skelton Newby Hall Primary School on the following grounds.


1.             Failure of the existing federation: Skelton Newby Hall Primary School was federated with Sharow Primary School in 2012, and despite a boost in pupil numbers in Skelton in the early years, recent years have seen an accelerating decline. It is a matter of record that the last inspection of Skelton concluded the school 'required improvement' and whilst the last inspection of Sharow in December 2021 held its 'good' rating, it noted this would likely not have been the case had it been a full inspection which would follow within two years. A number of concerns were raised around bullying, staff absenteeism, and a lack of leader feedback. In September 2022, ## was appointed as a new Chair of Governors to ‘trouble shoot’ performance at the federation (by his own account at the public consultation meeting). ## is a National Leader of Governance (NLG). According to the NGA, NLGs will provide Department of Education funded, targeted support to those schools and trusts with governance issues. Despite the falling numbers, it would appear that there has been no substantive effort to understand why parents of local children have not placed them in their local school, or, as has been the case, why parents have removed their children from the school. As the smaller site, Skelton is the junior partner in the federation, and it would be manifestly wrong to permanently remove this setting from the local community when the federation is failing as is recognised by the Ofsted inspections and by the recent appointment of ##. It is worth noting, at the time of writing, the Annual Governance Statement for the Governing Body has not been updated since September 2021. By ## own admission in the Public Meeting, it is unusual for him to be appointed Chair which in turn reflects the extent of the challenges being faced in the Federation, and he stated this Consultation process is delaying his ability to address the issues at Sharow. Councillors have heard accounts of how Skelton has missed opportunities to acquire new pupils due to a below average response to enquiries and also how the school missed out on a public library initiative, the Summer Reading Challenge, which went unanswered at Skelton School even though Sharow School participated. The current state of Skelton School does not reflect its potential but the failure of the existing federation arrangements.


2.             Population expansion: There has been a significant increase in the local population within a 5 mile radius of the school, following several developments in Langthorpe and Boroughbridge. More developments are planned, including the MSA at Kirby Hill, which would enable Skelton Newby Hall Primary school to flourish and provide essential care for residents and workers of these local developments. Whilst statistics show that there are currently places available in the area, parent experience has shown that this availability is not evenly spread across year groups and first choice alternatives have not been available.


3.             Lack of marketing: Whilst Skelton sits in the Ripon catchment including RGS, which is clearly a benefit to local residents, and whilst parents have the ability to select Skelton regardless of where they live, the orientation of the federation, facing Ripon rather than Boroughbridge, has meant that Skelton has missed out from a proper concerted marketing campaign within the new developments on its doorstep. When asked at the Consultation, there was no clear understanding of what marketing had been undertaken in recent years to promote the school. The Headteacher said that there had been some marketing locally, but when compared to the marketing undertaken by the village for the community pub it was acknowledged to be at a much lower level.


4.             Sustainable model: North Yorkshire is known nationwide for its proud tradition of the provision of smaller rural schools blended with larger ones in towns and cities. When asked at the Consultation for the minimum sustainable number for the school to survive, there appeared to be no number in mind. ##, Diocesan Director of Education, offered the number of 35. When reviewing the future of this school, especially one which has been in existence since 1856, it is important to view the longer term trend of pupil numbers, which has sat between 20-40. In recent years the maximum of 52 was reached and other well run local schools, such as Roecliffe, demonstrate it is possible to sustain a school with a sensible blend of in and out of area pupils, when properly marketed.


5.             Financially robust: Skelton Newby Hall School is currently in possession of a surplus which will be depleted if pupil numbers do not recover. However, whilst the school may have benefitted from targeted funds for a school of this nature, the provision of the school buildings and grounds, in this stunning setting, by the Newby Estate, mean that it is realistic to establish a sustainable forest school for the long term benefit of the local and wider community. The Newby Estate has indicated their ongoing support for the school and would not like to see its closure.



6.             Poor representation to the local community: The decision to begin the consultation to close the local school came as a surprise to the village. The Parish Council was first informed via the Newby Estate and local parents before the official notification was received from NYCC or the School itself. Parents had already been advised to seek alternative schools for their children which has resulted in all but four children leaving the school. ## advised the Chair of the Parish Council, when asked before the public meeting started, that all but one of the consultations he had been involved in had led to closure, and the other school had only lasted another year which was not the best use of public funds. The community has felt let down by the lack of proper consultation, as the current process, whilst statutory in nature, feels like a foregone conclusion to those who attended the public meeting.


Skelton-cum-Newby Parish Council would like the opportunity to demonstrate that there is a sustainable future for our primary school. This will require support to rebuild pupil numbers over the next couple of years. We would like to consult on the best operational structure to take this forward as it is apparent the existing federation has failed. This community has demonstrated its ability to mobilise in support of community assets and, in conjunction with the Newby Estate, we want to do the same for our school.


We want to work with NYCC, and its successor NYC, to ensure that our school can provide a valuable educational setting for the expanding community in the area. In the past we have seen housing expansion lead to the need for temporary school buildings placed to accommodate growing numbers. Skelton is an amazing forest school which can provide an unrivalled education in one of the most amazing settings in North Yorkshire. There is an above average outdoor space with access to expansion rooms in the village (including the Reading Room and local Church). An integrated plan could envisage this school as either an all age setting as it has been over the years, or indeed as an early years feeder for other local primary schools which would allow them the ability to accommodate more pupils.


The Parish Council asks NYCC to reject the option to close Skelton Newby Hall Primary School and to work with us and the local community to realise the potential of this setting.





I believe Skelton school needs to stay open. The increase in houses in the local area means another school is still required. More houses are planned to be built and therefore more spaces will be required. Couldn’t it work with Kirby Hill for the younger years to be place at the Skelton school?

Widen the catchment




Disgraceful. Although numbers have always been low the school used to be much better run Why doesn’t NYCC signpost parents to the school, friends in Boroughbridge say it wasn’t even offered as a choice to them?

Make it a wider catchment area now rather than after you close the school which is pretty obvious that’s your plans.

Past parent



I think it is outrageous. I attended the meeting in Skelton on 17/01/2023 and it became very obvious that the ‘consultation’ was in name only and that the decision to close the school had been made weeks or months earlier. The OFSTED inspection judgement ‘requires improvement’ is surely a reflection on the leadership of the school? The headteacher and governors must take some responsibility for that and should have put a plan in place to raise standards, however evidence has been produced to the contrary, including a member of the leadership team actually encouraging parents to move their child(ren) from the school before the end of this school year. It is no wonder that roll numbers have since fallen further. Prospective parents understandably look at OFSTED ratings as one of the key factors in choosing a school… it is not just about location. It is obvious to me that the leadership team at Skelton school have a clear conflict of interest in that running Sharow school without having Skelton school federated with it must make management easier. That leadership team should not have any say in the closure of Skelton school, let alone actively encourage its demise. I accept that the decision has been made to close the school, however I implore you to consider a) keeping the school open and b) prepare resources and leadership to market Skelton school for the new academic year starting September 2023. Maybe a federation with Kirby Hill school would produce a fresh leadership challenge and provide the motivation to re-create a thriving village school?

Boroughbridge has seen and continues to see rapid population growth, which is already putting pressure on primary school resources. It is clear that Boroughbridge, Kirby Hill and Roecliffe schools will not be able to cope without further building and infrastructure work which can be avoided by keeping Skelton school open.

Village resident for 34 years



Yes I am very unhappy that the school is closing. I think the school has been mismanaged leading to parents taking their children out. Previously the school was an integral part of the village joining with the community for such events as the village gala. Children from the village who attended the school have gone on to be successful. I know of at least one past pupil who has gone on to get a PhD. I think the latest management side lined the Skelton school in favour of Sharow. It was probably easier to have the school in one building and obviously the management gave no thought to the devastating consequences of that. Our village has been poorly served. It is simply not true that efforts were made to increase pupil numbers. Skelton school has  received good Ofsted reports and it is only since the new management team has come in that it now requires improvement. There was enough money in the schools budget to spend money on improvements. This unfortunately wasn't done. Why not. I hope there wasn't an ulterior motive there. Please do not close the school. Please give it another chance. There will be new children in the village and it is wrong that very young children should have to travel by bus to school.

None of the catchment areas suggested are near enough to be suitable. So none of them are suitable.




The Government's published Code of Practice on Consultation (2008) has seven criteria, the first criterion states, "Formal consultation should take place at a stage when there is scope to influence the outcome". This was followed by the publication of Consultation Principles (2018), the second principle titled, "Consultations should have a purpose", which expanded by stating, "Consult with implementation plans when the development of the plans is at a formative stage. Do not ask questions about issues on which you already have a final view".  Whilst those who attended the NYCC Public Meeting on 17th January 2023 unanimously felt that a clear view had already been formed, and indeed the communication to parents from early in this academic year had left them clear that they should find alternative settings for their children, it can only be hoped that NYCC with the Diocese of Leeds will have retained an open mind as to how we have arrived at this point of considering closure and the possibility for a sustainable future for this school which has been in existence since 1856.  1) Failed federation. It is a matter of public record that Sharow school only retained its Ofsted rating as Good because it was a short inspection, with a full inspection being recommended within two years due to a number of concerning observations. It is also a matter of record that the current Chair of the Governors has been brought in to resolve governance shortcomings. This federation has failed and failed the junior partner at Skelton to the extent that the school is now consulting to close.  2) Failure to market Skelton Newby Hall school. At the public meeting the school representatives were unable to explain the scale of marketing undertaken to promote the school to the large new housing developments in Langthorpe and Boroughbridge. As the school is federated with one on the edge of Ripon, it seems quite evident this opportunity has been missed.  3) Sustainable model. Skelton Newby Hall School is an amazing forest school setting and whilst a small school (optimum 35 pupils, which ## stated was the sustainable number for a school), it could form a perfect complement as a nursery and early years setting as an alternative to an all-years primary school. Whilst NYCC stats suggest there is ample capacity in the area, the parent experience when finding places has not borne this out across all year groups. An example, in support of this proposal to create an early years school in Skelton, Roecliffe Academy is running at capacity at this age group and would benefit from more capacity to help support and build sustainable numbers for the older age groups. It is a good example of how this solution would free up capacity in other local schools as the population expands with the current and proposed housing developments. The school currently has a financial surplus, an amazing setting, and strong support from the local community (including the property owner Newby Hall) to retain and properly market the school.  The Sharow Federation did not have any representation from the community of Skelton when it forwarded the proposal. Indeed the new Chair of Governors stated at the public meeting that this process was delaying him on delivering his core brief at Sharow. The community of Skelton want to work with NYCC (and its successor NYC) to demonstrate that there is a sustainable, viable model when properly run and marketed with local support.  If this consultation stays true to the Government’s code of practice and consultation principles, then this community should be extended the opportunity to explore this option, which would be consistent with the NYCC stated position that closure of a school is a course of last resort.

In the event Skelton Newby Hall CE VC school remains open then I think the catchment should be reviewed to help support a sustainable future for the school. Whilst children living in the village could still retain the benefit of being in the catchment of Ripon GS, there is no reason why the school cannot also benefit from a closer association with neighbouring villages, e.g. Roecliffe, Kirby Hill, and Boroughbridge.




A consultation could and should have started earlier. This consultation will hopefully demonstrate that it is not simply a ‘box ticking’ exercise and has meaningful purpose to consider viable alternatives to closure.


The proposal to close Skelton School has risen on previous occasions beginning when ##, the last teaching head, retired in 2012.  The school was federated with Sharow under the advice that there was a shortage of Headteachers and one would not be found. This was further threatened when numbers began to reduce approximately 4 years ago.  Following federation the school did well, but a group of children were able to join from another school, at a relatively young age, who had differing educational needs and Skelton School was understood locally to be a 'Special School', which it never has been. Unfortunately the parents of children without educational statements chose to remove their children to other settings and numbers have reduced as a result.  There is little or no evidence to show that NYCC have done anything proactive to support Skelton School since the start of the Covid Pandemic or to support use of the school.  Governors have made an effort to recruit children for the school, but during 2020 to 2022 few people have been able to move schools, or wished to do so.  The style of consultation has been interpreted by the parents of the group as advice of closure, local schools in turn have indicated that unless children are moved immediately they might not get a place.  This position has therefore created a vicious circle.  Skelton on Ure village is currently home to an ageing population, albeit this will change with time when it is likely that younger families will move into the village, as a result the number of primary school aged children will rise once more with associated demand.    Boroughbridge, Langthorpe and Kirby Hill are all subject to current housing projects which will see the construction of substantial numbers of homes, many of these aimed at young professionals and young families.  There are currently  215 primary places in existing schools (Kirby Hill 46, Boroughbridge 68, Roecliffe 0, Dishforth 94, Sharow 7) covering 7 year groups, an average of 30 children per year group.  Dishforth is 4.3 miles from Boroughbridge. Kirby Hill and Skelton are equidistant (0.7miles) from Boroughbridge.  As demand rises therefore it may seen that there is a facility to accommodate that demand in Skelton on Ure.  A village school is an important feature for rural communities, similar to the Public House, Shop and Bus Services.  Sustainable growth can be accommodated, according to Development Control Guidance, where these services exist.  If Skelton School is supported it can continue to offer a facility to the villagers and capacity in the area, losing a village school is a disaster.  The current Chair of Governors advised at the village meeting that he has been drafted in to deal with OFSTED issues, albeit it was quite evident that he was unable to hear the majority of the meeting, he was certainly unable to hear the participants questions.  I do not feel that the current chair is appropriate or that it is fair that he should be in post.   If the school is to be closed there will be children who then have to travel further in order to attend school.  This is bad for their wellbeing extending the school day, financially bad for the parents who have to transport them, bad for the environment which suffers consumption as a result of un-necessary movement and bad for NYCC who may have to fund elements of this transport.   The financial information shows that the conduct of the leadership team in the Sharow and Skelton federation has led to a position in which the school may be supported for additional time in order to offer recovery from Covid and to see the effect of the completion of some of the Boroughbridge developments.   Lastly, some believe that the quality of education in village schools might not be comparable, my child who attended Skelton School achieved 12 Grade 9 GCSEs, only one child in the UK got 13 GCSEs and another 11 achieved the same result.  Demonstrating the value of a Village School Primary Education.  I object to the proposed closure of this village school.

The catchment area of Skelton Newby Hall school is very tight and serves only the village of Skelton on Ure.  The River Ure means that villages to the south of the river are unable to access the area. Life in Skelton on Ure is much more closely associated with Ripon for services than it is Boroughbridge, despite relative distances.

Community (Previously Parent and Previously Governor)

The consultation process was clear to me due to my previous involvement with schools, but evidently it is not at all clear to the local population, who have acted with fear not balance.  The way that this matter has been handled by NYCC means that there are now NO children on role at Skelton School.  It should have been made clear to parents that with support (more students) the school coudl have been protected, this opportunity has been missed.  These text boxes are too small.


It was very disconcerting, appalling and somewhat unbelievable to hear the information given out at the meeting in Skelton-on-Ure on 17th January 2023. The way the meeting was opened made it obvious that everyone was very sad about the school closing. This decision had obviously been made months before and it seems that the powers that be had done everything they could to ensure the school would become unviable.   I believe that an inquiry must take place to find out how a school, that was small but thriving, went from 9 pupils down to 1 before the middle of February. Why did all these children suddenly move to other schools? We know a lot of the parents and children who were at the school, where the parents were told that if they did not move their children now they may not get a place in September. This scared parents into moving their children who were happy and thriving at the school. One family haa three children and there was only space for two of them at the proposed new school.  • Why did the school not continue?  • Why did the head and the chair of governors not actively and enthusiastically try to recruit more pupils to this school?  • Why was the village not informed about what was happening earlier?  • Why is the boundary for the intake of the school restricted?   These are all questions that need to be answered. You cannot make such a monumental and catastrophic decision such as this without further investigation as to how on earth this came to be. Where are the priorities for the dual head? Are they equally divided between Sharow and Skelton cum Newby? Is there a conflict of interest? The village residents have not seen any activity encouraging parents to send their children there or children from surrounding areas. From what we were told, quite some time ago there was one leaflet drop to the new houses in Boroughbridge. This is not active marketing; this is not trying to keep a wonderful school alive. You have an amazing facility here that could be utilised by many children who struggle in larger schools and those with additional needs.

There has been a massive rise in population in the Boroughbridge and Kirby Hill areas over the past few years. Ripon and surrounding villages have also seen large numbers of housing developments. Although we were shown many facts and figures through the presentation they did not relate to reality. Different schools were shown to have x number of places, however when it came to people trying to get a place, there were no spaces in their child’s age group.  Our population is growing and more school places will be needed. You have a wonderful facility at a reasonable cost, thanks to the Compton family at Newby Hall. Why not use it? Schools such as Kirby Hill and Roecliffe will need more facilities, infrastructure and buildings to cope with this growing demand, which will involve enormous cost and logistical problems.

Ex Primary School Teacher and now Play Therapist. Village resident for 33 years