Issue - meetings

Academy closure proposal for Baldersby St James Church of England Primary School.

Meeting: 12/10/2021 - Executive (Item 653)

653 Academy closure proposal for Baldersby St James Church of England Primary School. pdf icon PDF 658 KB

Executive Members are asked to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his delegated powers he:

i.      Confirm that the LA response during the listening period should be to notify the Trust and DfE that the Local Authority does not object to the closure of Baldersby St James CE Primary School.

ii.     Agree to a stakeholder consultation (and subsequent process) in conjunction with Elevate MAT, on the catchment proposals to be effective from September 2022, such that:

·          The northern part of the Baldersby St James catchment area (Baldersby Civil Parish) including Baldersby village to become part of the catchment area for Carlton Miniott Primary Academy

·          The southern part of the Baldersby St James catchment area (Rainton with Newby Civil Parish) including Rainton village to become part of the catchment area for both Dishforth CE Primary School and Topcliffe CE Academy.


Additional documents:


 What do yoAt -Considered - A report of the Corporate Director - Children and Young People’s Service proposing the closure of BaldersbyStJamesCEPrimarySchool with effect from 31August2022 and the future arrangements for the School’s current catchment area. 


County Councillor Patrick Mulligan introduced the report and confirmed it was the first closure proposal for an academy school, which would ultimately be a decision for the Secretary of State.  He drew Members’ attention to the process required for the closure and the reasons for the proposed closure as detailed in paragraph 5.2 of the report.  He also confirmed it was the Authority’s statutory duty to ensure there were sufficient school places in the area when the closure of a school was under consideration. 


He noted the proposal within the report was that the Local Authority should notify the HopeSentamuLearningTrust and DfE that it had no objection to the closure, but proposed instead, that the Authority:


·          Recommend that the DfE, the school’s Trust and the School’s Commissioner engage with the School to determine whether a credible business plan could be established to allow the school to remain open

·          Request that any closure be delayed for a period of 12 months to allow appropriate engagement between the community and the Learning Trust


Executive Members expressed support for the proposed revision to the recommendations in the report.  County Councillor Michael Harrison noted that technically as there was capacity elsewhere, the Authority could accept closure, but from a community point of view it was always better for a rural school to remain open if possible.


Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for Children & Young People’s Services noted that the Secretary of State had already made a substantive decision on the closure of the school and that the public ‘ListeningPeriod’ was now underway.  However he agreed that during the consultation period the Authority could ask that they engage with the school community and the school to understand whether a credible business case could be put together.  He also noted the Authority was not party to all the information on the school i.e. its financial position, because it was an Academy and not a Local Authority school.


Andrew Dixon, Strategic Planning Manager for Education & Skillsconfirmed that the number of children on the school’s roll had reduced since the announcement to close the school.  At the start of the academic year the number was 23 and it was currently 19, with a further small but significant number of parents having now applied for alternative schools as from September 2022. 




Executive Members agreed to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency delegated powers he:


i.       Recommend that the Secretary of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 653