Lancashire

Two-pupil primary school in Lancashire facing closure

Bleasdale Church of England Primary School Image copyright Google
Image caption Numbers at Bleasdale Church of England Primary in the Forest of Bowland have dwindled from 16 to two in five years

A remote primary school could shut after pupil numbers dwindled to just two.

Bleasdale Church of England Primary in Lancashire's Forest of Bowland will teach just one pupil from next September unless more children enrol.

Pupil numbers have fallen from a recent high of 16 within the past five years.

Governors, who fear the school will no longer be economically viable, have asked Lancashire County Council to consult on its future.

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A report presented to the council's cabinet revealed it was unlikely to be able to retain its "good" Ofsted rating if the number of children on its roll remained in single figures, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The school's website encourages parents to "travel the extra mile" to send their children to Bleasdale and claims two pupils until recently made a 40-mile round trip from Penwortham each day.

'Difficult decision'

Bleasdale village itself recorded a population of 167 in the 2011 Census.

Bleasdale competes with several nearby primary schools, the closest being three miles (4.8km) away and also under the Church of England umbrella.

That school also has surplus places, according to the diocese.

The consultation process will begin in the new year before a final decision is made in July 2019.

After the meeting on Monday, Stephen Whittaker, director of Blackburn Diocesan Board of Education, said: "The governors made a formal request to the local authority, in consultation with the diocese, to consult on closure of the school.

"This difficult decision was reached because the school is not financially sustainable with only two children on roll.

"The consultation will ascertain whether there is any opposition by allowing interested parties to respond to the local authority."

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