An angry parent has voiced his frustrations after being told children will not be taught at an East Northants village school next year – and must instead travel to Rutland.
Easton Garford Primary School, in Easton on the Hill in the north of the county, will effectively stop teaching from September under plans laid out by the Peterborough Diocese Education Trust (PDET), which runs the school.
Pupils will still remain on the roll at the school and the site will remain open but children will instead be taught at another PDET-run school in Ryhall, 15 minutes away in Rutland.
Parents were only told of the plans this month and Ian Scrivens, whose six-year-old son Harry attends the school, says they’ve been robbed of the chance of choosing a new school.
He said: “Last week we were handed a letter on behalf of the trust saying they forecasted a reduction in intake and did not think the school was viable.
“Instead the children will be taught in Ryhall and will be bussed over there.
“They’ve said the school isn’t closing but they’re using a loophole to get it done as soon as possible.
“It [Ryhall] isn’t the closest school and they’re not even guaranteeing buses after the first year.
“It’s been on their radar since February and it’s now too late for us to try and find another school.
“We’ve been robbed of a choice.”
Easton Garford Primary School currently has an intake of 28 pupils compared with about 160 at Ryhall, meaning Easton pupils will now be in much bigger classes.
Mr Scrivens added that he thinks the school should stay open for another year.
He said: “It’s their right [to close the school] and I’ve got no grudge against that but why not keep the school open for another year and give us the chance to plan for it?
“They’ve not done enough to boost intake and this will affect people not only in Easton on the Hill but Collyweston and Stamford too.”
The trust says the school forecasts a deficit of about £350,000 in five years’ time but has moved to reassure parents that education will still be provided.
It says children will be welcomed into the Ryhall community and parents will not have to apply for a place there.
Trust chief executive Miranda Robinson said: “This is one of the oldest church schools in the diocese and it is disappointing that we have to propose this action.
“However, given the financial climate, we feel this is the best option for continuing to provide the good quality of education children currently receive from the dedicated staff at Easton Garford School.”
MP for Corby and East Northants Tom Pursglove says he has requested an urgent meeting on the matter.
On his Facebook page, he said: “This week, I have been contacted by several constituents who are very concerned about the proposed relocation of Easton Garford Primary School, for the next academic year.
“These proposals are causing great concern for parents with children at the school due to the distance they would have to travel to the school’s new location in Rutland, as well as concerns that they have not had sufficient time to plan for September.
“I have therefore written to the chief executive of the Peterborough Diocese Education Trust, and to the chief executive and leader of Northamptonshire County Council, to request an urgent meeting to discuss this matter.”
A petition against the relocation has been set up by Mr Scrivens.