Michaelchurch Escley Primary School students face move after school runs out of teachers

ONE of the county’s smallest schools has run out of teachers.

The resignation of two teachers at Michaelchurch Escley Primary School next month could put pupils on the move.

In a statement this morning, Herefordshire Council confirmed that with the resignations the school will not have enough permanent teachers employed at the school to ensure “quality of teaching and children’s welfare”.

Now, the school’s governors plan to move the pupils to Longtown primary -  Michaelchurch Escley’s federated partner - while they consider the future.

Supply teachers are another option.

Jo Davidson, the council’s director for children’s wellbeing, said the governors intended to talk to all parents ahead of any final decision with any arrangements made in short-term being temporary.

The school, with about 40 pupils, has seen its rolls fall over recent years.  The council confirmed that pupil numbers will be the subject of a “separate discussion” with parents in the New Year when the governing body knows what its September 2014 intake will be.

Comments (11)

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5:12pm Fri 6 Dec 13

RebeccaM says...

It was surprising to see the headline regarding Michaelchurch Primary school; this did not fully communicate the fact that these staff looked for other employment as the school had asked for voluntary redundancies which then became compulsory in the light of a lack of funding available for the school.
The parents were not made aware of the redundancy situation until it was too late. What has resulted from the governors' redundancy request has effectively rung the death knell for a unique and much loved traditional village school.
It was surprising to see the headline regarding Michaelchurch Primary school; this did not fully communicate the fact that these staff looked for other employment as the school had asked for voluntary redundancies which then became compulsory in the light of a lack of funding available for the school. The parents were not made aware of the redundancy situation until it was too late. What has resulted from the governors' redundancy request has effectively rung the death knell for a unique and much loved traditional village school. RebeccaM

7:41pm Sat 7 Dec 13

TIM BUCK-TOO says...

Tragically disappointing to read this news, particularly since many local parents had been concerned about the plight of this small but vulnerable village school for more than a year. They have given numerous warning signals and, indeed, had suggested that the school's administrative linking with another (larger) local school would have been the preferred solution. Pity the HT story didn't include a comment from the councillor responsible - though perhaps these self-important people only talk to the Press when they've got up-beat bullish 'stories' to gloat about (eg: "we've just built a new bridge across the River Wye").
Tragically disappointing to read this news, particularly since many local parents had been concerned about the plight of this small but vulnerable village school for more than a year. They have given numerous warning signals and, indeed, had suggested that the school's administrative linking with another (larger) local school would have been the preferred solution. Pity the HT story didn't include a comment from the councillor responsible - though perhaps these self-important people only talk to the Press when they've got up-beat bullish 'stories' to gloat about (eg: "we've just built a new bridge across the River Wye"). TIM BUCK-TOO

9:10pm Sat 7 Dec 13

redyoll says...

This lovely little primary school set in an idyllic position has schooled some fantastic pupils and yet because of yet another Council **** up/cut back it is in danger of being closed down in January. I have yet to meet a pupil who has been unhappy at Michaelchurch Escley School. Yet another travesty how these people on the Council sleep at night I do not know. Now who is the Councillor for Michaelchurch oh I've just remembered. The Council we are beholden to are robbing Herefordshire of the things that Herefordians love about the county.
This lovely little primary school set in an idyllic position has schooled some fantastic pupils and yet because of yet another Council **** up/cut back it is in danger of being closed down in January. I have yet to meet a pupil who has been unhappy at Michaelchurch Escley School. Yet another travesty how these people on the Council sleep at night I do not know. Now who is the Councillor for Michaelchurch oh I've just remembered. The Council we are beholden to are robbing Herefordshire of the things that Herefordians love about the county. redyoll

1:52pm Sun 8 Dec 13

GDJ says...

redyoll wrote:
This lovely little primary school set in an idyllic position has schooled some fantastic pupils and yet because of yet another Council **** up/cut back it is in danger of being closed down in January. I have yet to meet a pupil who has been unhappy at Michaelchurch Escley School. Yet another travesty how these people on the Council sleep at night I do not know. Now who is the Councillor for Michaelchurch oh I've just remembered. The Council we are beholden to are robbing Herefordshire of the things that Herefordians love about the county.
This is one of those occasions when it is unfair to blame the council.
If the school really does have only 40 children then there is no way that three teachers and a share of the costs of a headteacher, deputy head and admin and educational support staff can be funded. The HT on-line story misses the point completely so thanks to RebeccaM for correcting it.

Any extra funding from the council to subsidise this school would mean even less going to all the popular schools with class sizes of over 30. And funding is by a national formula (mainly on a per pupil basis) with councils given far less ability than they used to have for subsidising very small schools. This outcome was predicted when the government changed the funding system last year - perhaps a comment from the Conservative MP on the effect of his government's policy would be in order.

Without new housing and new families moving into rural areas this sort of thing will happen again and again.
[quote][p][bold]redyoll[/bold] wrote: This lovely little primary school set in an idyllic position has schooled some fantastic pupils and yet because of yet another Council **** up/cut back it is in danger of being closed down in January. I have yet to meet a pupil who has been unhappy at Michaelchurch Escley School. Yet another travesty how these people on the Council sleep at night I do not know. Now who is the Councillor for Michaelchurch oh I've just remembered. The Council we are beholden to are robbing Herefordshire of the things that Herefordians love about the county.[/p][/quote]This is one of those occasions when it is unfair to blame the council. If the school really does have only 40 children then there is no way that three teachers and a share of the costs of a headteacher, deputy head and admin and educational support staff can be funded. The HT on-line story misses the point completely so thanks to RebeccaM for correcting it. Any extra funding from the council to subsidise this school would mean even less going to all the popular schools with class sizes of over 30. And funding is by a national formula (mainly on a per pupil basis) with councils given far less ability than they used to have for subsidising very small schools. This outcome was predicted when the government changed the funding system last year - perhaps a comment from the Conservative MP on the effect of his government's policy would be in order. Without new housing and new families moving into rural areas this sort of thing will happen again and again. GDJ

7:41pm Sun 8 Dec 13

TIM BUCK-TOO says...

@GDJ: "...the school really does only have 40 children...". Indeed. We would not argue with that statistic for a moment. But you have overlooked the fact that local campaigners, who want to keep the school going (with 40, or 50 local children) have assessed the potential amongst locally new-born children, and are confident that that figure could be maintained without 'bussing in' children from adjoining areas.

I'm sure the parents of children at Michaelchurch Escley will be marching through Hereford with protest banners. I'm not so sure Councillor Graham Powell will be amongst them. But let's see.
@GDJ: "...the school really does only have 40 children...". Indeed. We would not argue with that statistic for a moment. But you have overlooked the fact that local campaigners, who want to keep the school going (with 40, or 50 local children) have assessed the potential amongst locally new-born children, and are confident that that figure could be maintained without 'bussing in' children from adjoining areas. I'm sure the parents of children at Michaelchurch Escley will be marching through Hereford with protest banners. I'm not so sure Councillor Graham Powell will be amongst them. But let's see. TIM BUCK-TOO

7:58am Mon 9 Dec 13

SLLondon says...

Disappointed to see the HT drop the ball so badly here - 'runs out of teachers' - more like 'teachers given no choice but to look elsewhere after threats from local council'. Come on HT - let's see less dramatic headlines and a bit more research from all angles before writing stories that fuel this council's propaganda.
Disappointed to see the HT drop the ball so badly here - 'runs out of teachers' - more like 'teachers given no choice but to look elsewhere after threats from local council'. Come on HT - let's see less dramatic headlines and a bit more research from all angles before writing stories that fuel this council's propaganda. SLLondon

4:22pm Mon 9 Dec 13

GDJ says...

TIM BUCK-TOO wrote:
@GDJ: "...the school really does only have 40 children...". Indeed. We would not argue with that statistic for a moment. But you have overlooked the fact that local campaigners, who want to keep the school going (with 40, or 50 local children) have assessed the potential amongst locally new-born children, and are confident that that figure could be maintained without 'bussing in' children from adjoining areas.

I'm sure the parents of children at Michaelchurch Escley will be marching through Hereford with protest banners. I'm not so sure Councillor Graham Powell will be amongst them. But let's see.
I'm not against the school staying open - it is unfortunate and wrong that the calculations are always purely financial and don't take into account the many social and other benefits of local provision - but that is the system. I was just trying to say that councils have had their hands tied by central government and have to stick to the formula which disadvantages small and rural schools - so your protest should be to the MPs, not just to the council.

Jo Davidson's statement is also very unhelpful, though. The risk is that the school will be in the kind of vicious cycle that befell other schools a few years ago. Fear that it will close lead parents of 4 year olds to choose other schools, and that will make the intake fall further and make the school even more vulnerable.
[quote][p][bold]TIM BUCK-TOO[/bold] wrote: @GDJ: "...the school really does only have 40 children...". Indeed. We would not argue with that statistic for a moment. But you have overlooked the fact that local campaigners, who want to keep the school going (with 40, or 50 local children) have assessed the potential amongst locally new-born children, and are confident that that figure could be maintained without 'bussing in' children from adjoining areas. I'm sure the parents of children at Michaelchurch Escley will be marching through Hereford with protest banners. I'm not so sure Councillor Graham Powell will be amongst them. But let's see.[/p][/quote]I'm not against the school staying open - it is unfortunate and wrong that the calculations are always purely financial and don't take into account the many social and other benefits of local provision - but that is the system. I was just trying to say that councils have had their hands tied by central government and have to stick to the formula which disadvantages small and rural schools - so your protest should be to the MPs, not just to the council. Jo Davidson's statement is also very unhelpful, though. The risk is that the school will be in the kind of vicious cycle that befell other schools a few years ago. Fear that it will close lead parents of 4 year olds to choose other schools, and that will make the intake fall further and make the school even more vulnerable. GDJ

6:45pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Michaelchurch 1 says...

As a Parent with a child at Michaelchurch Escley Primary School I feel desperately sad, hurt, insulted, angry and confused as to why the local authority feel the need to do this 3 weeks before Christmas. The way this has been dealt with is completely un professional and underhand and we have been seriously let down by the governing body that we should trust as it is obvious that they are heavily biased towards Longtown school. We will not take this lying down - fact!
As a Parent with a child at Michaelchurch Escley Primary School I feel desperately sad, hurt, insulted, angry and confused as to why the local authority feel the need to do this 3 weeks before Christmas. The way this has been dealt with is completely un professional and underhand and we have been seriously let down by the governing body that we should trust as it is obvious that they are heavily biased towards Longtown school. We will not take this lying down - fact! Michaelchurch 1

6:55pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Michaelchurch 1 says...

I am the other half of the above commentor with a child at Michaelchurch School and feel sorely let down. This news came out of the blue and I feel that Michaelchurch is being sacrificed to save Longtown school. We had two excellent teachers that were driven out by the incompetent decisions of the governors. The whole thing stinks.
I am the other half of the above commentor with a child at Michaelchurch School and feel sorely let down. This news came out of the blue and I feel that Michaelchurch is being sacrificed to save Longtown school. We had two excellent teachers that were driven out by the incompetent decisions of the governors. The whole thing stinks. Michaelchurch 1

10:08am Wed 11 Dec 13

TIM BUCK-TOO says...

@ Cllr Graham Powell: still waiting for you to appear from behind the sofa with your 'take' on the situation?

Hello? Graham?
@ Cllr Graham Powell: still waiting for you to appear from behind the sofa with your 'take' on the situation? Hello? Graham? TIM BUCK-TOO

2:06pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Richard I Andrews says...

Can the governors/council really close a school like this? Are there not proper legal procedures to be gone through? Surely the answer to a shortage of teachers is simply to get more teachers.

A closure is a closure even if temporary (except in cases of bad weather or strikes)
Can the governors/council really close a school like this? Are there not proper legal procedures to be gone through? Surely the answer to a shortage of teachers is simply to get more teachers. A closure is a closure even if temporary (except in cases of bad weather or strikes) Richard I Andrews

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