Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Decision made to close Shelton Lower School

9 August 2018

Our Executive has made the decision to close Shelton Lower School.

This comes after we consulted on the proposal to close because of a steady decline in pupil number and a forecast that this would continue. The total capacity of the school is 75 pupils, but the number of pupils on roll in October 2018 is forecast to be 29, which is 40% of Shelton Lower School’s capacity.

School funding relates to pupil numbers, so a large reduction in pupil numbers like this has a big impact on the school’s finances. The school went into deficit earlier this year and this looks certain to worsen in the coming years.

Following the Department for Education’s statutory five-stage process, the decision is now subject to a four-week period, during which time permitted appeals can be made until September 5.

Subject to appeals closure of Shelton Lower School, would take place on August 31, 2019.

Councillor Steve Dixon, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said: "This has been a very difficult decision and not one we have taken lightly.

"I must praise the governing body for making a significant effort over the years to increase pupil numbers through publicity, providing a pre-school nursery and federating with another school, and undertaking marketing activity. However, a recovery plan that demonstrates how pupil numbers would increase to a number that balances the budget and a phased loan repayment has not been possible.

"Unfortunately, it means that the school is not financially viable and therefore the only option is to close the school.

"We understand this is unsettling for the parents of pupils attending the school and we will of course work with them to find alternative suitable places for their children in other local schools over the coming year."

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