Shelton Lower School consultation

Shelton Lower School - questions and answers

Consultation closed at 5pm on Monday, 23 July 2018

Have any attempts been made by the council to promote the school in an effort to increase numbers?

We do not promote any school over another within Central Bedfordshire. Parents seeking a school are advised to consider Ofsted reports and make visits to schools in order to decide their preference.

With the projected additional housing in the Marston Vale, new school places will be needed. Could the school remain open, with additional council funding, until the children from the new houses feed through?

Our forecasts for pupil numbers includes the planned housing for the next five years. More housing is being planned for the next twenty years. However, this growth won’t happen overnight, and we cannot support a school in deficit to continue indefinitely. Large scale developments include financial contributions by developers for provision of new schools.

Would the school be viable if it could attract ‘paid-for’ community use?

It is very doubtful, but we will consider any proposals that come

Many parents prefer to send their children to a smaller school – by closing Shelton Lower you are removing this option for future parents. How can you justify this?

There are a large number of small schools within Central Bedfordshire and we understand the appeal that these schools have but whether large or small, if a school is unable to attract sufficient pupils to make it viable we have to consider whether the school is viable.

Has a lack of capital investment in the school led to its drop in pupil numbers?

We do not believe this is the case.

Is the council allowed to close a rural school?

Yes. As the maintaining authority we have the power to propose the closure of a school. In the case of any school classified by the government as being in a ‘rural’ area, there is a presumption against closure, and the statutory guidance on opening and closing schools sets out factors the decision-maker must take into account if it is proposing the closure of a school in a rural area.

If a decision is made to close the school, when will this happen?

It would happen by 31 August 2019 at the earliest.

If the school closes what will happen to the buildings and the land?

The school belongs to the Vale of Marston School’s Trust. If the decision is made to close the school we will work with the Trust regarding the future of the site. 

Has a decision already been made to close the school?

No decision has been made yet. We are interested in the views of all stakeholders regarding the future of the school and you are encouraged to respond to this consultation.