England’s highest school facing axe

Will Flash Primary School survive the cuts?
Will Flash Primary School survive the cuts?
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A TINY Peak District school which teaches only nine pupils looks set to shut within the next seven months.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet has voted to commence formal statutory consultation on a proposal to close Flash C of E Primary School, near Buxton, on August 31.

The controversial decision follows a four-week consultation with parents, teachers and governors over the future of England’s highest village school.

Cabinet Member for Schools, Cllr Liz Staples, told last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting: “We have looked at the consultation, we have looked at the future of the school and, regretably, we have concluded Flash no longer represents a good, viable learning environment for the remainder of the pupils.”

Councillors also agreed that the council should undertake a review into the sustainability of primary education in the north Moorlands – which includes schools in Longnor and Hollinsclough – during the 2011/12 academic year.

Deputy Leader and Lead Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Ian Parry, said: “I would like to see all of our village schools retained, but we have got to find ways of sustaining them. We cannot just let them all wither on the vine and see a decline in pupil numbers.”

If Flash is closed, as is now anticipated, existing pupils will be offered places at Blackshaw Moor CE (VC) First School or Churnet View Middle School.

Following the meeting, acting headteacher at Flash, Dehra Griffiths, said staff and parents would meet with officers from the church, the council and local education authority to discuss the closure plans.

“I think parents will be asking why they want to close this school before they know what provision there will be in the Staffordshire Moorlands for their children’s education,” she said.

“The community will obviously fight on for the school because the children we have here are our own.”

Flash School has a capacity for 42 pupils, and was judged as ‘satisfactory’ in its last Ofsted inspection.