The parish council in Embleton has wholeheartedly backed the retention of the village school, which reflects the community’s feelings.
At a public meeting a fortnight ago, the community rallied round in support of its first school converting to a primary school in order to avoid closure next year.
Now, Embleton Parish Council has released a statement firmly backing the school staying open, explaining that it was dismayed to learn of the recommendation to close earlier this year, but chose not to express its views publicly until the second consultation document was published and a response agreed.
In the statement, the council says it ‘is convinced that Embleton School will be in a strong viable position to continue providing a high standard of academic, social and moral education for the children in the area in the primary school format.
‘Our views are supported by the positive approach by the Parochial Church Council and the Vicar of Embleton and their informing the Diocesan Education Board of their stance in support of the school remaining open’.
The council points to the fact that in the draft core strategy, Embleton is listed as a larger village centre, with ‘a small range of local facilities’.
It states: ‘The village is about to expand – 16 new affordable homes plus an estate of 36 homes, including a number for sale at reduced market value to encourage first-time buyers.
‘When we, as a parish council, were approached for comments on these developments in the early days of the planning process, we responded positively, believing that attracting young families to the area was vital to prevent our vibrant community being reduced to becoming a retirement village or, worse still, a winter ghost town full of holiday homes.
‘We are concerned that despite our efforts, young families will be deterred from moving to Embleton by the imminent closure of the school’.
It concludes: ‘The parish council wishes to avoid a potential public-relations disaster occurring in the spring of 2016 when the Quarry development of affordable homes will be officially opened – and at the same time, the adjacent school (200 metres) will be officially closed – a real Alice in Wonderland situation.
‘We, Embleton Parish Council, urge the county council, cabinet and officers to make the occasion an undiluted joyous one – new housing coupled with the presence of a vigorous primary school’.