By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
A small primary school in a Nottinghamshire village which has just 26 pupils is no longer at risk of closure after an academy trust offered to take it over.
Dean Hole Primary School is a small voluntary-controlled school in Caunton, near Newark.
The Church of England school was at risk of shutting because of concerns over its “financial viability”, despite a consultation showing that most parents wanted it to stay open.
Now, Nottinghamshire County Council, which maintains the school, says the TEAM Education Trust has offered to take it on.
The trust said it would run the school if it could open a small special school for 12 pupils on the site.
Now, a formal consultation on the plans will take place which could allow the academy transfer to happen.
The last Ofsted inspection of the school, in 2019, rated the school
The number of pupils on roll school fell from 47 in May 2019 to 24 in the Spring of 2023, which council reports say was “impacting significantly on the financial viability and sustainability of the school”.
Consistent leadership at the school “has been a considerable challenge for some time”, the authority adds.
In December 2022, a new Chair of Governors had been appointed but they stepped down later that month for personal reasons.
A new chair of governors was then secured and a temporary headteacher was brought in to fill the post until December 2023, “to allow options to be explored and decisions to be made”.
A consultation was carried out between June and July 2023 to explore all options, including the closure of the school.
A total of 58 people said they wanted to see the school remain open, and 17 said they would prefer to see it closed.
One former parent “expressed grave concerns over the running of the school” and said they were in favour of closure, although council reports provide no further detail.
During the consultation period, a proposal was received from the TEAM Education Trust to turn the school into an academy.
“Should the proposal be supported, then it is anticipated that the school would academize and that TEAM Education Trust would provide interim support
to the school whilst the process was being finalise”, council documents state.