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Falling numbers and finances cause school to close

An East Staffordshire primary school will close by the end of August, after a fall in pupil numbers meant it had to consult on closure for a second time.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet considered the future of The Henry Prince School in Mayfield at their meeting on May 15, after recent consultation with parents, staff, pupils and the wider community on a proposal to close the school.

The school will close on August 31, and it is proposed that the catchment area of the school would be merged with that of Dove CE (VC) First School in Rocester.

Despite being judged a ‘good’ school by Ofsted, the school has just 20 pupils on roll, out of a total capacity of 75.  With funding dependent on pupil numbers, the lack of pupils means The Henry Prince is not financially sustainable.

County Councillor Philip White, Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability, said:

It is with great sadness that cabinet has approved the closure of The Henry Prince First School. However, we have to act in the children’s best interests, ensure they have access to a high-quality education and that they are given every opportunity to succeed in their studies.

We have worked with the school, and know that the headteacher and governors have done all they can to try and attract enough pupils to ensure the school is viable. Having so few pupils means the school is unable to pay for the staff and resources required to deliver a high-quality education.

This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, but we have to put the welfare and education of pupils first.”

Mrs Jackie Naylor, headteacher at The Henry Prince said:

This is a really difficult situation for everyone to be in. We will be ensuring the children that remain here have the best education we can provide, as has always been the case.”