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Consultation launched on plan to close West Norfolk village school

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A West Norfolk village school could be closed within months under plans for a formal merger with one of its existing partner institutions.

Education officials say pupil numbers are falling rapidly at the Wormegay CE Primary School and could be as low as six in just two years' time.

But concerns have already been raised about the timing of the announcement, giving the continuing disruption to education from coronavirus.

Wormegay village - the village sign.. (44093423)
Wormegay village - the village sign.. (44093423)

The proposal would see the Wormegay school formally merged with its partner school at Runcton Holme, potentially from the start of the new academic year in September.

The Runcton Holme school would be renamed the Holy Cross Primary Academy and would accept pupils from Wormegay and Tottenhill as part of an expanded catchment area if the plan gets the go-ahead.

A public consultation has been launched by the schools' sponsor, the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), and will remain open until early March.

MP Liz Truss met pupils from the Wormegay Church of England Primary School during a visit last year.
MP Liz Truss met pupils from the Wormegay Church of England Primary School during a visit last year.

The trust says there are just 26 pupils currently enrolled at Wormegay and, at current rates, the number will be down to six by 2023.

DEMAT's consultation document added that the Wormegay and Runcton Holme schools are already part of a partnership and share many staff, while Wormegay pupils already use the Runcton Holme site for PE lessons.

It continued: "It is vital to recognise how small schools can be sustainable moving forwards, to provide the best possible educational outcomes for all the children."

But the proposal, which is due to be discussed at a virtual public meeting next month, is likely to be controversial, particularly as DEMAT reversed plans to shut another of its schools in Ten Mile Bank four years ago, following fierce local opposition.

One resident who contacted the Lynn News said the timing of the Wormegay announcement during the pandemic would make consultations more difficult and warned of the impact on children.

She said: "Our children are already under increased stress with the inconsistency of schooling, but now knowing that they're school may close has a potentially devastating impact."

The virtual meeting will take place on Wednesday, February 10, between 7pm and 9pm. Places at the session can be secured via www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/public-meeting-for-consultation-on-amalgamation-of-runcton-holmeand-wormeg-tickets-137391261963

Consultation responses can be emailed to consultation@demat.org.uk or posted to Runcton Holme CofE Primary School, 107 School Road, Runcton Holme, Kings Lynn, PE33 0EL.

An online survey is also available at https://forms.gle/dMLN15aF1byNRfV8A. The deadline for comments is 5pm on Friday, March 5.

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