St Hilda's RC School in Whitby one step closer to closure

A Whitby Roman Catholic primary school with just two pupils is set to close after councillors backed the move.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 2:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 2:30 pm
St Hilda's RC School, Whitby

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 due to a drop in pupil numbers.

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

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

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 today voted to progress with the closure with a final decision scheduled for March.

The meeting heard that attempts from a group of parents and governors to try to find a solution to save the school had failed.

Cllr Patrick Mulligan, the executive member for Education and Skills told the meeting that “regrettably” the council had to move forward with closing the school.

Cllr David Chance, the member for Whitby’s Mayfield cum Mulgrave division, added: “As a Whitby councillor I am deeply saddened to see this closure happening but I see no other alternative.

“The group that was formed could find no way forward at the end of the day to save the school.

“Unfortunately I see no alternative to this now.”

A report prepared for the executive stated 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 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 voted to move the closure onto its next stage with a final decision due on March 9.

If approved, the school would close on April 9.

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