Drop-in sessions will address future and finances of three dales schools

West Burton primary school is one of three in the BAWB federation.

By Betsy Everett

Five senior managers from North Yorkshire County Council will attend a series of meetings to discuss the future of three Dales primary schools said to be facing a “desperate financial situation.”

Also in attendance at the drop-in sessions on Wednesday, October 4, will be executive headteacher Charlotte Harper, several governors and the Leeds diocesan deputy director of education for school distinctiveness, Fiona Beevers.  Both Askrigg and West Burton are Church of England schools.

The consultation fulfils a promise made at a meeting in June called by West Burton parents who claimed that their children had been disadvantaged by joining a federation with Askrigg and Bainbridge.
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Charlotte Harper, executive head of the BAWB federation

Chairing that meeting, county councillor John Blackie asked education officials how the “desperate financial situation” facing schools in the upper dales could be addressed.

Council officials said then that all schools were facing “financial pressures” and predicted that the deficit for the BAWB federation schools at the end of March next year would be over £90,000. At the same time this year, 2017, West Burton had an “indicative” surplus of £21,500, which the local authority stressed could change depending on a number of factors.

The drop-in sessions in October, described in a newsletter to parents as “a shared community engagement project,” will set out the financial and educational issues, suggest ways of addressing them and invite parents and the public to put forward their views.

Joining the head and governors will be local authority officials Andrew Dixon, strategic planning manager, children and young people’s services; Mark Ashton, strategic planning officer, CYPS; Sally Dunn, head of finance – schools and early years, and financial management services team manager; Jo Mackie, primary lead improvement adviser, education and skills; and Alison Johnston, manager of governor support services.

The first drop-in session will be at the Yorkshire Dales National Park authority’s office in Bainbridge, from 10am to noon, the second at Askrigg school from 1.30-3.30pm and the third at West Burton school from 5-7.30pm.

All parents will be able to attend any of the sessions, regardless of where their children attend school. A detailed document providing background and history and setting out options will be available in advance and through the schools’ websites.

Askrigg C of E primary school