The future’s bright as nursery gets the nod

Staff and pupils at Branton County First School.
Staff and pupils at Branton County First School.

What could have been a very final assembly tinged with sadness for a north Northumberland village school turned out to be a look to the future.

Branton Community First School had been threatened with closure at the end of this school year, due to a lack of pupils.

The governors were forced to consult on the demise of the school last December, but received a huge response from the local community.

Now the school has received the official nod for its community powers nursery, which will open in September, meaning that the school will have a total of 14 pupils on roll by the end of the next academic year, the highest in quite some time.

As a mark of their immense gratitude to the local community, for their supportive voice and actions in fund-raising and writing to the council and providing money-saving services to the school, the governing body have agreed to name the new nursery The Breamish Valley Community Nursery.

Laura Capper, chairman of the board of governors, said: “Leavers’ Assembly at Branton School is always a very special occasion in the community calendar and none more so than this year.

“It was, as always, the opportunity to say goodbye to pupils graduating up to middle school in September and to wish them well in their lives as they move on, and for the other pupils to share and celebrate memories of their times together as friends and classmates.

“Today, however, was cause for a double celebration as, just six months ago, it was thought that the whole school would be coming to an end as there would only have been four pupils left in September.

“Instead of this the school is staying open and is able to expand considerably, thanks to their unbelievably supportive local community.”

She passed on thanks for the huge fund-raising efforts of the community who organised various events, which raised £8,400 for the school and other charities, as well as their attempts to spread the word about the school to other parents.

Additionally, although many very generous donations were offered, the governors agreed to accept only the financial pledges from local charitable trusts the Carr-Ellison and Vinson and from the Ingram Show and Sports Committee.

Referring to the name change, Mrs Capper said: “They [the governors] want everyone to remember visitors are always welcome and the school is very proud to be at the heart of such a strong and committed community.”