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Midhurst school closure could be dropped by county council

Plans to close Stedham Primary School could soon be dropped thanks to progress being made to federate the school with another in the Midhurst area.


The news was shared by Cllr Nigel Jupp, cabinet member for education, at a West Sussex County Council meeting in Chichester.


Consultation is expected to start in February on the proposed closure of three of the county’s small schools, due to council concerns about falling numbers and financial viability.


As expected, the plans were met with a lot of resistance.


Celia Billington, vice-chairman of governors at Stedham, had pleaded with the council to stop the ‘illogical and damaging’ consultation – and she might soon get her wish.


Cllr Jupp said the council had received details of the ‘very positive steps’ towards federation taken by Stedham, and the moves the school would need to take to formalise the plans. A federation is made up of two or more schools operating under one governing body.


Cllr Jupp told members of the cabinet: “The county council officers have met with school representatives in the last week and were able to confirm to me that the progress has been positive and the offer of continued support on that federation work has been welcomed.


“We all remain hopeful that this positive work will continue.


“If so, there may be good grounds for me to remove or halt the closure consultation process for Stedham.”


Report by Karen Dunn, local democracy reporter

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