Closure threat to village school

A RURAL first school could close because of falling pupil numbers.

Governors at Branton Community First School have asked Northumberland County Council to consult on closing the school because of its financial situation and lack of children.

It comes just over year after Eglingham C of E First School shut its doors for the same reason.

Concerns have been raised about where pupils who relocated to Branton when Eglingham closed will go if the proposals go ahead.

Coun John Taylor, who represents the Hedgeley ward, said: “Children who lived in the Eglingham catchment area had the chance to go to Branton or Whittingham. Many of them chose Whittingham, but some opted for Branton. My concern is about them and what they are going to do and where it is reasonable for them to go.

“Quite a lot of children from Powburn go there as well.”

“I have been talking about this to the education department at County Hall.”

The Gazette understands that there are less than 10 pupils currently at the school.

A county council spokeswoman said: “The governing body of Branton First School has asked the county council to consider consulting on a proposal to close the school from the end of August 2012.

“Regrettably the roll for the school is very small and, despite the governing body undertaking initiatives to try to attract more pupils, it looks likely that it will continue to fall.”

A report on the proposed consultation is due to be published on November 25 with the Executive to consider it on December 5.