Primary schools at Dunswell and Gembling face closure - and more could be at risk
TWO East Riding schools are facing the threat of closure this summer and more could be at risk as a result of a new national funding regime.
East Riding Council is warning the financial safety net for small schools will disappear under new rules on how funding is allocated.
Dunswell Primary School, near Beverley, and Gembling Primary, near Driffield, are at risk of closure at the end of the summer term.
Unions are warning more small schools could also be in jeopardy as a result of national funding changes that come into force in April.
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Chris Leeman, branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "There are about 30 very small schools in the East Riding but the ones under threat at the moment are among the smaller schools.
"We are very concerned."
John Killeen, branch secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "I think this is the start, sadly, of a number of small schools that will have to look at their future viability.
"Under the new funding formula there are winners and losers. It is not exclusively a large, middle or small school situation. There are other factors to take into account."
Mr Killeen, who is the head of South Cave Primary, warned a minimum funding guarantee could disappear in two years' time, putting yet more schools in jeopardy.
The council is consulting governors and parents over the possible closure of Dunswell and Gembling primary schools this summer.
Paul Butler, inclusion and access manager at the council, said: "The introduction of this new national formula will take away the ability of the council to include local factors to reflect the situation of schools in the East Riding.
"The consequences of the changes will have a significant impact on schools in our area and mean many will face a reduction in their budgets.
"As schools in the East Riding already receive one of the lowest funding levels in the country, this will mean many schools will struggle financially and some may no longer be viable."
The authority is the eighth worst-funded in the country and is having to look at how many schools it can justify maintaining.
Gembling, which would have just 26 pupils for the next academic year, faces going into the red under the new funding regime.
Dunswell Primary is financially viable but 75 per cent of its 88 pupils are from outside catchment area, including Hull.