Decision adjourned on closing village school near Milton Keynes

Moves to start the process of closing a village school have been halted – at least in the short term.

Cllr Zoe Nolan, the cabinet member for children and families at Milton Keynes Council, had been due to decide whether to publish a statutory notice and propose the closure of Emberton School.

Emberton School

Emberton School

But at her delegated decisions meeting yesterday (Tuesday), Cllr Nolan announced that she had decided to postpone the decision until June 18. She said: “We have had a request to adjourn because someone with an interest wanted to speak on the issue.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service had previously reported that Emberton Parish Council was “seeking assurances that there shall be a meaningful consultation”.

The parish was “very disappointed in the proposed closure of the village school which has successfully served the local community for many years.”

In his report to Cllr Nolan, Simon Sims, the council’s strategic lead, sufficiency and access, says: “Due to falling birth rates locally, surplus primary school places are expected to continue. The school, as an organisation, is no-longer viable, so the governing board have asked Milton Keynes Council to consult on closing the school.”

Emberton School is a community infant school with an admission number of 12 in each of its three year groups. It has a catchment area of Emberton, Filgrave, Petsoe, and Tyringham, but it currently has no pupils.

All the staff have either left the school or moved to other schools in the Village Schools Federation, the council has been told.

A pre-publication consultation was held between January 21 and March 17, to which 10 people responded, and six were in favour of the closure. While the school remains open, the council has to pay building running costs.