Controversial closure of Northamptonshire school 'called in' by councillors

Parents and the small remaining number of pupils are hoping cabinet may reconsider the decision to close the school
Parents and the small remaining number of pupils are hoping cabinet may reconsider the decision to close the school

The controversial closure of a Northamptonshire primary school has been ‘called-in’ by councillors concerned over the ‘unsatisfactory’ process.

Great Creaton Primary School was told it had to shut its doors for good on December 31 after Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet voted to close it.

The cabinet said the decision was due to decreasing numbers of pupils and the impact this had on ‘effectively delivering’ the curriculum to pupils. Three pupils were on the books when the decision was taken in September, but 20 were on the roll as recently as June.

Furious parents said the consultation on the closure was a pointless exercise and argued that the council had ‘stood back and willingly allowed Creaton parents to spend a considerable amount of their own money on a predetermined lost cause’.

Now a number of councillors appear to have given the parents new hope after ‘calling in’ the decision, which will allow a scrutiny committee made up of other councillors to review the closure and possibly refer it back to the cabinet for reconsideration.

Reasons given for the referral include that issues raised by parents - such as the allegation that the school’s headteacher failed to consult with governors or parents - were ‘not fully investigated’.

They also contend that cabinet failed to consider alternative options such as the school becoming a free school or parents potentially registering a Right to Bid that could allow them to take ownership of the building. Further criticism is levelled at the ‘openness’ of the decision.

Councillors calling in the decision include several Labour members, two independent members and one Liberal Democrat and one Conservative.

The scrutiny panel will meet next Wednesday (October 10) at County Hall to review the closure.