Move to close Whitby's St Hilda's RC School looks set to succeed

A move to close a catholic primary school in Whitby with just two new starters looks set to succeed.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 11:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th January 2021, 11:48 am

The governors of St Hilda’s Roman Catholic Primary School, a voluntary aided school run by the Diocese of Middlesbrough, announced last year it wanted to move ahead with plans to close the school.

When the plan was revealed St Hilda’s had just 24 pupils, only four of whom were Catholic.

Just two children were scheduled to start in the Reception class last September with nine moving on to secondary school.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

St Hilda's RC School, Whitby picture: Google

St Hilda’s originally had the capacity to take 105 children but this was reduced to 74 in 2019 as the number of pupils tumbled.

Following a six-week public consultation North Yorkshire County Council’s executive will be asked to continue to progress with the closure when it meets on Tuesday next week, with a final decision scheduled for March.

A report prepared for the executive states that just one response to the consultation had been received from a parent who disagreed with the closure but “acknowledged that there was no chance that the school could be made sustainable”.

A virtual consultation meeting also saw no objections raised.

The executive report adds: “Officers consider that the single response received to this consultation and the nature of the comments at the virtual meeting reflect a widely held acceptance that the closure of the school is inevitable with only two pupils on roll.

“A period of consultation earlier in the year attracted far more comment and these comments mostly focused around the community and governors being given more time to look at options.

“The ending of the previous closure proposal allowed a reconstituted governing board additional time to look again at options suggested in the initial consultation.

"Unfortunately, the governing board was unable to find a sustainable option and once again asked the local authority to consult on closure.”

A number of pupils moved to St Hedda’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Egton Bridge when the closure proposal was announced in September.

The executive will be asked to approve moving onto the next stage of the closure procedure with a final decision due on March 9.

If approved, the school would close on April 9.