School governors invite West Burton parents to form working party over school concerns

West Burton Primary School.

Aysgarth and District Parish Council has welcomed an invitation from the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools (BAWB) to the West Burton Representative Group to form a small working party.

At its meeting on Thursday February 21, councillors heard the meeting would take place on Tuesday, March 19.

At the meeting councillors called for the bussing of the youngest children from West Burton C of E School to Bainbridge for lessons to stop.

Cllr David Pointon, an independent educational consultant who is a member of the Representative Group, reminded the council that the first request for defederation from BAWB by parents of pupils at West Burton school was made in January 2018.

He added that BAWB had refused defederation and was continuing with bussing the youngest children which was one of the main things that parents were objecting to.

“The community is still not satisfied,” he said.

Richmondshire district councillor Yvonne Peacock described the lack of communication by the BAWB governors as dreadful.

“We’ve had emails but we haven’t had a conversation. To me the governors should have dealings with people, with the parents.”

Another Richmondshire District councillor, Caroline Thornton-Berry agreed that the governors didn’t seem to know that the West Burton parents were so unhappy.

She told the council that she had invited one of the BAWB governors to have coffee with her – only for that governor to say that the chair of governors had said she shouldn’t accept.

One of the parish councillors spoke of a teaching head at a church school of 120 pupils who was at the top of the pay scale who earned about £20,000 less per year than the non-teaching head of BAWB which has 80 pupils. BAWB also has a part time business manager.

“The financial situation at BAWB is unsustainable,” commented Cllr Thornton-Berry. She also pointed out that, unlike councillors, the governing body of a school was unanswerable to anyone and was free to make all decisions  apart from that to close a school.

Cllr Pointon emphasised that the most important issue was the needs of the children  – and the councillors agreed that bussing the youngest children was contrary to that.

ARC News Service