Council to consider closing Northamptonshire school

Councillor Catherine Boardman
Councillor Catherine Boardman

Northamptonshire County Council will consider proposals to close one of Oundle & King’s Cliffe Middle School’s sites.

A report to the council’s cabinet member for children, families and education recommends that the council starts a consultation on proposals to close the school’s King’s Cliffe site and operate the school from the Oundle site only from this September. All pupils currently educated at the King’s Cliffe site would transfer to Oundle.

The proposal has been put forward jointly by the school’s governing body and the council to address concerns about falling pupils numbers which in turn affect the school’s ongoing financial viability.

Councillor Catherine Boardman, cabinet member for children, families and education, said: “The school finds itself in a similar predicament to many of our smaller rural schools in that its King’s Cliffe site increasingly struggles to attract pupils in the numbers needed to make the school financially viable. This is exacerbated by the school’s Ofsted inspections which have highlighted the school’s weaknesses, although, recent inspection visits have noted improvements.

“We’ve worked with the school’s governing body to examine how the school can address its financial challenges at the same time as ensuring that its improvement plan remains its priority.”

If approved, the proposed closure of the Kings Cliffe site will be subject to public consultation from 22nd January to 5th March ahead of the publication of statutory notices in March.

The proposal will be discussed at a cabinet member decision meeting on Thursday 16 January. The meeting takes place at 11.30am in Room 28 at County Hall, Northampton.

The proposal is separate to the wider consultation currently taking place regarding the system of education employed in North-East Northamptonshire, with a proposed move from a three to two tier system of education.