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Hope of rescue for tiny village school near Devizes
The closure of Chirton Primary School, near Devizes, has been put on hold following articles about the process appearing in the Gazette and Herald.
After the threatened closure was publicised in the paper, the school governors have received approaches about possibly federating with other schools in the area.
Headteacher Kate Lloyd Jones has written to parents to inform them of the governors’ decision, made at their meeting last Wednesday evening.
Mrs Lloyd Jones said: “We now have three options, including various federation models, which we would like to follow up. The details are, at present, confidential, but we are optimistic that some of these solutions could be most promising.”
At last Wednesday’s meeting, the governors agreed to keep the school open until at least July 2013, which was suggested by parents at an emotional meeting in St John the Baptist Church in the village in May.
This means that pressure is now off parents to find alternative schools for their children, made necessary after it was announced the school would most likely close at the end of this year.
Mrs Lloyd Jones said: “We have done this because, as well as our own belief that the school is worth saving, the support from the local community and parents is so strong that we feel we should continue to try our utmost to keep the school open if possible and secure its long-term future for the children within our catchment area and those who choose to come from further afield.”
As reported in the Gazette & Herald on May 24, the “little school with the big heart” as it calls itself, went to consultation about its possible closure after governors revealed that they have struggled for some time to keep pupil numbers up to a sustainable level.
They thought they were winning in 2010 when the school roll rose to 44 pupils, but the following year it had fallen to 21, with just two children in the reception class.
Governors had appealed to other schools in the catchment area to consider federation with them, but without success. Although the consultation process, due to close next week, has been suspended, parents have been urged to complete and return their consultation forms.