• Durham OnAir

Proposals to close a rural primary school considered




Proposals to close a primary school that has the lowest pupil numbers of any school in County Durham are being put to councillors next week.


Durham County Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve the closure of Forest of Teesdale Primary School at the end of this academic year, as part of the council’s duty to secure good outcomes for all children and young people.


The school is located in the small rural community of Forest-in-Teesdale. It currently has

just one child on roll and there are no anticipated developments in the area that would

increase numbers.


Although the most recent Ofsted inspection in 2018 judged the school to be ‘Good’, it also

identified many weaknesses.


As a result of this, a decision was made to enrich and widen the curriculum at the school

through collaboration with three other small primary schools in the upper dales, leading to

the creation of the Upper Durham Dales Federation.


While the federation has worked to provide more social opportunities for all pupils across

its schools, no further pupils have been enrolled at Forest of Teesdale Primary.


Cllr Ted Henderson, Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We

are committed to securing good outcomes for all our children and young people here in

County Durham. We believe that the proposal to close Forest of Teesdale Primary School

is in the best interests of all involved.


“Educating children in a larger school will allow for more social interaction and a broader

curriculum, which will help to improve educational outcomes for all and have a positive

impact on students, staff and the wider community. It will also help to ensure our schools

are sustainable and able to meet the challenges of a changing educational environment.”


A six-week consultation, which was carried out by the council in February this year, found

that three-quarters of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with proposals to close

the school.


This was followed by a statutory notice being published on 5 May 2022, which received no

responses.


If approved by Cabinet, the Forest of Teesdale Primary School will close on 31 August

2022.