The tiny Hertfordshire primary school too small to survive

The BBC asked year six Wareside Primary pupil Alby what he thinks of his school and he replied, through a wide beaming smile, "It is amazing"

He knows full well that with just 19 pupils, his school - Wareside Primary in Hertfordshire - is very small. Too small, even, to have an 11-a-side football match without coercing staff members to join in.

"I like how it is small because there are not too many people surrounding you," he says. "It is friendly."

Poised to go up to secondary school, he will not be leaving alone. At the end of the summer term, the entire school will close forever.

Rated a good school by Ofsted, Hertfordshire County Council decided the shortage of new pupils combined with an expected £80,000 budget deficit meant it had no future.

In closing, the school will become one of the latest schools to shut its doors across England

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), fears for the future of smaller schools and the communities they serve.

Their loss, he says, can be "incalculable".

"Small schools are at the heart of our local and rural communities," he says. "But as one of the groups hit hardest by budget cuts, for thousands of small schools the future remains uncertain.

"This is a terrible state of affairs when you think about how vital these schools are.

"In many places, the school is the last public service left standing in their community."

The government says there is always a presumption against closing rural schools and the impact on its surrounding community should be fully considered.

It says small and remote schools get extra funding of £55,000 for primary schools and £80,000 for secondary schools.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We understand that the closure of any school can be difficult for its students and wider community, prior to closure of Wareside Primary School a full consultation has taken place.

"Through the schools National Funding Formula we have more than doubled additional funding for small rural schools from £42 million in 2021-22 to £95 million in 2022-23.

"This funding will help to maintain the viability of more rural schools and ensure they remain at the heart of village communities."

Full article:

The BBC - The tiny Hertfordshire primary school too small to survive


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