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Views sought on Sedgeford Primary School closure proposal

A West Norfolk primary school looks set to close because of low pupil numbers which officials say are unlikely to increase in the coming years.

Public views are being sought on the future of the Sedgeford Primary School, which currently has just 13 pupils on its books.

But, with no new children expected to enrol this September, county education chiefs are proposing to shut it, with effect from August 31.

Sedgeford Primary School.. (35259913)
Sedgeford Primary School.. (35259913)

Children who currently attend the school would be moved to sites in Heacham and Hunstanton instead.

John FIsher, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children’s services, said: “It is almost impossible for such a small school to be viable with the very low number of pupils that Sedgeford Primary has.

“With no admissions this year, if the school were to stay open, there would be no children in Reception in September and there is little or no prospect of any future increase in demand.

“We want every child in Norfolk to be able to access a good education so they have the opportunity to achieve their hopes and ambitions in the future and this is what we believe these changes will deliver for these children.”

The school is currently part of the St Mary’s Federation alongside the primaries in Brancaster and Docking.

Although there is capacity for 63 pupils, the authority says numbers have consistently fallen from a peak of 49 children on roll in 2010 and have halved in just the last two years.

An initial public consultation exercise, carried out between March and May, saw 17 responses received out of more than 800 documents sent out.

Of those, nine were opposed to the measure, with seven in favour.

Supporters said the current low numbers made the current situation untenable.

But objectors said they feared the proposal would have a significant impact on the village community and claimed there had been a lack of support for the school.

Concerns have also been raised about the plan to transfer pupils to either Heacham or Hunstanton, depending on where they live, with some suggesting they should transfer to the sister school at Docking.

However, officials say there is insufficient capacity for all the pupils at Docking.

Residents who wish to comment on the closure proposal can still do so by writing to School Organisation Team, Bay 34, Floor 8, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich, NR1 2DL or by emailing schoolreview@norfolk.gov.uk by July 1.

Copies of the complete proposal can be obtained from the same postal address or online at www.norfolk.citizenspace.com/childrens-services/sedgeford

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