We’ll fight to keep our school open!

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PARENTS at a rural school under threat of closure say they fear the community will not survive without it.

The first stage of a consultation on the possible closure of Out Rawcliffe CE Primary School began this week.

Falling numbers over the last four years and concerns around educational and financial viability are the main reasons for the proposed closure of the voluntary aided rural primary school.

A report by Lancashire County Council states there were 52 pupils on the roll in January 2008 but only 16 in January this year – a figure expected to plummet to 10 by September.

School governors are still considering linking up with smaller schools and have even looked at free school status – but have agreed stage one consultation be undertaken on the proposed closure of the school by August 2013.

Parents today told The Gazette they have formed a support group and are willing to fight to keep the school open.

Sandra O’Sullivan’s seven-year-old daughter, Lily, attends the school. She said: “We would be devastated if this school closed, it is a lovely place for my daughter to learn and set in a beautiful environment.

“My dad came to the school and so did I, it is a real community and without it I worry the community would die, what would happen to the church and the village hall.”

Patricia Stafford has a grandson at the school and a granddaughter due to enrol in September. She said: “We had to fight for this school when my children were here and we will fight for it again.

“The teaching is second to none, the pupils get a really good standard of education and I like the fact there are only a small number of pupils, it means they get more one-to-one learning.”

Katy Warr says she wouldn’t want to send her six-year-old daughter Chloe anywhere else.

She said: “We have been given other options, including St Mary’s RC Primary and Great Eccleston Copp but you would have to go over the toll bridge which would cost more money. The alternatives are all good schools but we are happy here, we don’t want the children to be split up.”

Parent governor Christine Kelsall said: “This was not an easy decision, we have been considering the feasibility of collaborating or federating with another school for a long time.

“The amount of money we receive depends on the number of children we have on the roll and at the moment that is not enough.

“But I hope by publicising the serious situation we are in locals will take note and realise we need more pupils.”

The consultation period will last until July with a decision in December.

Teaching assistant Catherine Taylor said: “We do not want the school to close, I love working here, I love the children and the parents.”

Hambleton councillor Lynne Bowen said: “It is a shame, it is a lovely community school but it was under threat when my children were there.”