'This will rip heart out of our village'
PARENTS have called for more time to fight for the future of the East Riding's smallest school.
The proposed closure of Langtoft Primary School, near Driffield, has already been met by stern opposition from parents whose children attend the school.
The school, which caters for Key Stage 1 pupils, is the latest facing the threat of closure because of national funding changes.
With just 20 pupils, the school is the East Riding's most expensive school per pupil to run.
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Parents, governors and local councillors came together last night at a consultation meeting with members of East Riding Council to discuss possible ways of how to save the school.
Mark Kelly, chair of governors, said parents will fight all the way to keep the school open.
"The closure of Langtoft will rip the heart our of the village and that doesn't seem to have been considered at this time," he said.
"The children of this village deserve to go to school within their own community.
"The financial issue is not what needs to be considered here.
"It is the life experience available to children and the opportunity for them to grow up within their local community that are important."
Letters were sent to parents of children who attend Langtoft just two weeks ago, informing them that a consultation process will begin.
Mike Whitley, a former pupil at the school, now runs a business in the village.
"A child's education should not be dealt with in financial terms," he said.
"This is a fantastic school and gets good report and good report.
"Since the first threat of closure it has welcomed a new headteacher and continues to provide an exceptional education to pupils.
"These people deserve more time to fight for the children's education."
The council is looking to shut Langtoft in July.
It survived a previous closure threat in 2007 after parents protested and links were forged with other schools.
According to the council, the school has been earmarked for closure because of its size and running costs rather than its academic performance.
Under the proposals, pupils at Langtoft would transfer to Kilham Primary, which is about three miles away, from September.
The council is already facing protests over its proposals to close 26-pupil Gembling Primary School and 88-pupil Dunswell Primary School, near Beverley.
More primaries could be at risk when the impact of the new national funding regime is seen after April.
Paul Butler, inclusion and access manager at the council, said: "Langtoft is by far the most expensive school, costing us £15,500 per pupil, compared with the average £3,500.
The education the school provides is good but it comes at a very expensive price.
"We will continue to look at all the options we have and the these consultations are designed to listen to the concerns and ideas of parents."
A final decision is due on June 25 but the request for an extended consultation period will be taken to a cabinet meeting in April.