Primary School could close in Wigan village

A primary school could be closed because a Wigan village has a surplus of school places.

Wednesday, 15th June 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:09 pm
Millbrook Primary School in Shevington - one of the schools which could possibly close

The town hall has launched a consultation to find out parents’ and residents’ views on closing one of three primary schools in Shevington as a falling birth rate continues to cause of drop in demand for places.

The four options being considered are:

Close Shevington Millbrook Community Primary and move pupils to Shevington Vale and Shevington Community Primary

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Close Shevington Vale and transfer children to Shevington Community

Close Shevington Community and transfer children to Shevington Vale

Close Shevington Community but retain the school buildings and move children from Shevington Vale to the site

The three schools are operated by Shevington Federation and share a governing body and executive headteacher.

But the consultation documents reveal that Shevington Community Primary, which is currently rated as requiring improvements by Ofsted, is operating at 50 per cent of its total capacity.

There are currently 101 students enrolled at the school with 13 leaving at the end of the academic year, but just seven due to start in September.

The report also says this trend is expected to continue as birth rates have been dropping in the area for the past five years.

Coun Paul Collins, who is also a associate member of the governing body, said: “It would be inappropriate for me to speak on behalf of the governing body of the federation of which I am an associate member and I would not like to second guess the conclusion of the consultation at this stage as we are in very early stages and the outcome is currently unknown.

“Schools are funded based on the number of children who attend so surplus places is an issue that can affect any school. We have an ageing population in our ward and the situation is unlikely to change significantly for the foreseeable future, hence the need to consult with affected groups and individuals to explore and consider options available to address the problem.”

Coun Collins along with his fellow councillors Damian Edwardson and Mike Crosby are encouraging as many people as possible to engage with the consultation.

Coun Edwardson said: “Mike, Paul and I want to ensure is that families feel engaged and the consultation is thorough, open and transparent. Any decision needs to be in the best interests of children.

“There is a surplus of places at the moment but we need to make sure we are looking to the future as well and make sure when we come to review it in five or six years time we don’t end up a bit stuck for places.”