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Parents campaign to keep Norfolk primary school open

PUBLISHED: 10:08 22 March 2014 | UPDATED: 10:21 22 March 2014

Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary school is threatened with closure. Pictured in front is Sonia Humphries and her son Elliot.

Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary school is threatened with closure. Pictured in front is Sonia Humphries and her son Elliot.

Archant norfolk

Parents have launched a campaign to save a small village primary school from closure after its governing body said it did not believe the school had a viable future.

Governors came to the “difficult decision” over the future of Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary School following a continued decline in pupil numbers, a consultation document from Norfolk County Council said.

The Church of England school, in Wilby Road, Eccles, has just 27 pupils on its roll.

It entered into partnerships with Carleton Road Primary School, in 2011, and Kenninghall Primary School, in April last year, “in order to secure a more sustainable future”, the consultation document said.

“In spite of this collaboration, a continued decline in pupil numbers and changes to school funding are making it increasingly difficult to manage the budget, and to bring about sustained improvement in educational outcomes for its pupils,” the document went on to say.

However Ina De Smet - a parent who is planning to send her sons Nathan, aged five, and Ruben, aged three, to the school in the future - said: “The partnership of three hasn’t even had a chance to prove if it works or not.

“Eccles has most certainly not had the amount of support it needs and deserves from the local authority and the diocese.”

Mrs De Smet, of White Hart Street, East Harling, added that despite the school’s small size, the population - and demand for primary school places - is growing.

“With several housing developments planned in villages and the nearby town, Attleborough, closing Eccles, Hargham and Wilby Primary School seems a very short-sighted decision.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesman said no final decision would be made until at least May.

Those who want to take part in the consultation should visit

Alternatively people can sign a petition against the closure by visiting

What do you think about the proposed closure? Contact EDP reporter Andrew Papworth on 01379 651153 or email


  • well, with the schools excellent SATS results (100% literacy, maths and science, 73% writing) there's not many people we couldn't help ... more seriously, this school has very good inclusive practice and what it can do very well is enable both academically able children (some year 6s are working on level 6 SATS for example) , and those who need support by allowing them to work flexibly over the year groups and classes. What the school definitely needs is a few more pupils. I would encourage anyone who's not visitied a small school to come in and see what is there on offer. It's a great little school and has served my children very well.

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    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Sadly the closure of small rural schools is something that's likely to continue, though it sounds as if there may be grounds for fighting to save this one. The lack of affordable housing for young families and the fact that thousands of rural Norfolk properties have become second homes (which has served to drive up house prices for everyone) are two of the main reasons why pupil numbers have dropped. A great pity because I'm sure children benefit greatly from going to school in the area where they live rather than having to be bussed to school.

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    Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • Perhaps they could boost pupil numbers with EDP reporters who can't use formerly and formally correctly ( see barn fire article) Seriously though. I went to a primary school of the same size. I know what a struggle they have to provide the academic and social experience that a larger school can offer. I would not , looking back have changed it for the world, a larger school would probably have choked off some of the individuality. I suspect that small schools are better for those who are young in their year group.But for those who like sport, who are competitive etc a larger school might be better and cheaper. A school this size, even if part of a federation, has to have two teachers and possibly ( these days) a teaching assistant Just one and a teaching assistant would not give a fair education. But if there is half a chance of more pupils, leave it open. In fact, a school is a good reason for granting planning permission for more homes suitable for young families.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Broken Britain.

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    Monday, March 24, 2014

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