Brackley primary school to close - parents are shocked and angry
and live on Freeview channel 276
Parents reacted with anger and shock as Southfields Primary Academy announced the closure in a letter to parents. Politicians hope to get the decision reversed.
The school says it is closing because of the fall in numbers on the school roll. The local Labour group says West Northants Council (WNC) bears some responsibility for the school’s situation as it controls schools admissions.
Cllr Simon Weaver said: “The Trustees have decided to close it because central government are unwilling to properly fund and support a stand-alone academy with low pupil numbers.
“The Tory-led West Northants Council have a role to play in this disaster as they control school admissions so any under-capacity issues have been artificially engineered.”
He said Brackley is a growing town with 1,500 new homes soon to be built.
“West Northants Council argue there will be a ‘predicted drop in future numbers’”. We think WNC forecasting is implausible and they should publish their figures for scrutiny,” he said.
The school published a statement on its website on Thursday. It said: “It is with great sadness that we are writing to advise you that the Trustees of Southfield Primary Academy have formally decided to close Southfield Primary School from the end of the current academic year on Friday, July 19, 2024. The Department of Education (DfE) have approved this decision.
“Despite the significant improvements made in the quality of education, the continued falling numbers of pupils on roll, along with the predicted drop in future numbers, has resulted in the school becoming financially unviable.”
The school said classes would remain open with no changes and that it would work closely with WNC and the DfE to ensure all affected children have access to an alternative nearby school with no break in education.
In a press statement South Northants Labour Party condemned the decision as ‘short-sighted and damaging to the educational life and community of Brackley and the surrounding villages’.
Cllr Weaver, whose children attend Southfield, said, “The children and staff are devastated; the loss will be felt throughout the community.
“This is yet another Tory failure in West Northants. Today, as children arrive at school in tears, central and local government make claims about the school’s financial viability and affordability with no consideration of the impact on families, children and the Brackley community.
Stewart Tolley, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for South Northants, said: "I think it is outrageous that in a growing town full of families like Brackley that a decision has been made to shut Southfield School.
"This will put unnecessary strain on the already-at-capacity primary schools in the town. The parents and residents are rightly upset and I fully share their concerns. Hopefully if enough people speak up we can reverse this damaging decision."
The school has set up a four-week ‘listening period’ from today (Monday, October 9).
A number of in-person sessions will be held where WNC School Admissions Teams will advise on the application process for a new school.
Parents should contact [email protected] to book a place at one of the sessions on Thursday, October 12, Tuesday, October 17 and Tuesday, October 31, all at 6pm in the school hall.