Wilby school recommended by council to relocate to Wellingborough’s Glenvale Park – Little Harrowden Community Primary School to remain in the village

"The decision is not final and now we need the views of the public to shape what happens next”
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Wilby C of E VA Primary School has formally been recommended by North Northamptonshire Council to move into the vacant Glenvale Park school.

The news comes just hours after Little Harrowden Community Primary, the other of two schools that expressed an interest in relocating, sent a letter to parents informing them that it would stay at its current premises.

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Cllr Scott Edwards, the council’s executive member for children, families, education and skills, said: “Both applications we received were of a high standard and warmly received by the panel.

Wilby C of E VA Primary School has been recommended to move to Glenvale Park in time for the 2024/25 academic yearWilby C of E VA Primary School has been recommended to move to Glenvale Park in time for the 2024/25 academic year
Wilby C of E VA Primary School has been recommended to move to Glenvale Park in time for the 2024/25 academic year

"After a long discussion and careful consideration, we have recommended that Wilby C of E Primary School move to the next stage and a public consultation will be launched in September so residents and parents can have their say on the recommendation.”

Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of the council, added: “It is great that we are moving forward and that the panel has put forward a recommendation.

"The decision is not final and now we need the views of the public to shape what happens next.”

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A letter sent to parents from Little Harrowden, alluded to Wilby C of E Primary making the move, but NNC has now confirmed to this paper that the recommendation has been put forward, but also that it does not guarantee that the Wilby school will be relocating.

Despite formally expressing an interest to relocate to the vacant Glenvale Park Primary on July 3, Little Harrowden Community Primary School will remain in the village.

In the aforementioned letter from the Little Harrowden headteacher on July 20, the school acknowledges the ‘mixed feelings’ of parents and carers concerning the development after a petition made the rounds following the initial proposition.

The letter from Beth Renshaw, headteacher of Little Harrowden Community Primary School, says: “While we are disappointed, please be assured that we are all committed to our school.

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"We are not moving, but the statement is still as true as it was.

"Our school is and will continue to be special and unique because of the people, pupils and families who support it, not the walls which surround it.”

The public consultation in September will inform the council’s executive decision making process later in the year, and should it be approved, Wilby C of E School would move to the Glenvale Park development at the start of the 2024/25 academic year.

The council reiterates that as the estate grows, primary aged children from the development will be invited to apply for a school place as part of the normal admissions process.

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NNC asked for expressions of interest in mid-June to move to the new, vacant facility in the Glenvale Park housing estate, which has the capacity to hold 420 students.

According to an Ofsted report published in April 2022, Wilby C of E Primary has 87 pupils on the school roll.

The Wellingborough facility likely would not receive funding from the Department of Education due to a lack of demand for school places in the area, so the council offered the building to local schools in what leader Jason Smithers praised as a ‘clever solution.’

The two aforementioned schools subsequently applied, which drew criticism from parents of Little Harrowden Primary who started a petition to stay at the School Lane premises.

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Last week, on July 13, it held two drop-in sessions which included teachers, councillors and concerned parties. There, parents expressed an overall disapproval of the proposition, with Cllr Lora Lawman saying: “So far I’ve only heard arguments against.”

The letter penned by Little Harrowden Primary on July 20 added: "We know there will be mixed feelings about this decision. We ask that everyone respect the opinion of others, and understand that it is acceptable to have opposing views.

“Throughout this process we have been open and acted with honesty and integrity.

"We have always been and will continue to be committed to doing our very best for the pupils and families of Little Harrowden Primary School.

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"This was our motivation for applying to move the school, and will continue to be our motivation remaining where we are.”

The letter also noted that ‘the issues we have highlighted remain’, alluding to the structural integrity of the building and grounds which have roots in the 19th century.

Wilby C of E VA Primary School has been contacted for comment.