School's shock over the speed of closure plan
STAFF and governors at a school threatened with closure this summer are "extremely shocked" over the speed of the plans.
East Riding Council is looking to close Gembling Primary School in July because it will go into the red under a new national funding regime.
The authority says the school would have just 26 pupils in the next academic year and would no longer be financially viable.
Education officials at the council, which is one of the worst-funded nationally, is having to look at how many schools it can justify maintaining.
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Several small primary schools are under threat, including Dunswell Primary, which is earmarked for possible closure next year.
Gembling Primary's head- teacher Jane Moat and chairman of governors Ken Tate have issued a joint statement.
They said: "Our school is extremely shocked at the speed of the proposals.
"The consultation process will begin next week with meetings between the local authority, governors, staff and parents.
"Gembling Primary has been held in high regard as a centre of learning by the communities of Foston-on-the-Wolds, Gembling and Kelk and by the numerous families who have chosen to bring their children here.
"Everyone in the school community is very saddened indeed, that despite every effort made by the school, budgetary reductions, coupled with falling rolls have resulted in the local authority's proposal."
Paul Butler, inclusion and access manager at East Riding Council, said: "Gembling Primary School is heading into a significant budget deficit because of the national funding changes.
"We just can't see any way it could get out of that because the money it receives doesn't cover the cost of running the school, including the staff salaries."
Mr Butler said only a handful of the school's pupils actually live within its catchment area.
He said: "It is a school that has a high proportion of out-of- catchment area children attending the school.
"There's only 26 children on roll but 21 of them come from outside the catchment area.
"We are clearly maintaining a school that doesn't serve its local community, it is serving a much wider area.
"The school's future is being looked at partly because it is not viable and partly because it is serving a wider area."
Gembling pupils could be transferred to North Frodingham Primary School, some 2.5 miles away, if their school closes.
Mr Butler said the introduction of a new national funding formula from April has taken away the ability of the council to include local factors when allocating funds to schools.
He said: "The new funding formula is being imposed on us and it is having major consequences for schools.
"Once we see the full effects of the new national funding regime it will become clearer whether other schools will be affected."