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West Norfolk village school closure 'a travesty', says angry parent

A parent has branded plans to close a West Norfolk village primary school as a “travesty” which would damage the entire community if they are implemented.

Education chiefs are proposing to shut Wormegay CE Primary and merge it with its current partner school in Runcton Holme, potentially as early as this autumn.

Its sponsor, the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT) says the move is necessary because of falling pupil numbers.

Elizabeth Truss MP visits Wormegay Church of England Primary School.PicturedLiz Truss with pupils.. (26414283)
Elizabeth Truss MP visits Wormegay Church of England Primary School.PicturedLiz Truss with pupils.. (26414283)

But residents in the village and nearby Tottenhill are preparing themselves to fight the plans, which are the subject of an ongoing public consultation.

And Kelly Jones, three of whose children are pupils at the school, believes the support that has been offered to children there during the coronavirus crisis would not have been possible in a larger school.

She said: “Our school is one of the last traditional village primary schools. In a world that has changed so much lately it provides a stability we all need.

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

“To close our school rather than invest in it to help keep it open would be a travesty.”

A virtual public meeting on the proposal is due to take place next month, as part of the consultation process

If approved, the merger could be implemented from the start of the new academic year in September.

DEMAT chief executive Adrian Ball defended the plans, arguing there are already strong links between the two schools.

He said: “The schools currently share a headteacher, governing body and several staff between the two sites.

“Pupils from Wormegay use the Runcton Holme site for PE lessons with multiple joint extracurricular activities and visits conducted.

“The proposed changes are driven by falling numbers at Wormegay with 26 children currently on roll, with no pupils joining the school in September 2020.

“This leaves the school with a forecast roll of six by September 2023.”

But opponents are taking to social media and planning a leafleting drive to get their message across before the consultation closes on March 5.

And Mrs Jones said: “The school is the hub of Wormegay and Tottenhill. ThePTA put on many events during the year (pre-Covid) and we have a trusted group of volunteers from the local community that always come and help out.

“We have also held events for the local community and these provide socialisation for many of the older members of our community. With the closure of the school, these events will stop and this will put many of our community at risk of social isolation.”

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