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Holme Lacy primary school facing closure
HOLME Lacy primary school is facing closure with no new pupils starting this term.
There has been a steady decline in pupil numbers over several years. By Monday, when schools reopen for a new year, Holme Lacy could join Hope-under-Dinmore, Wormbridge and Brilley on the roll of communities to have lost their primary schools since 2000.
That decision lies with a single councillor, the cabinet member for education Graham Powell.
It’s an academic exercise, with Coun Powell asked to approve the publication of a statutory notice advising of the council’s intent to “discontinue” Holme Lacy Primary School with effect from December 31, 2012.
His decision can be called in by the council’s single scrutiny committee, but that’s unlikely given that lack of demonstrable evidence showing sufficient future demand for places to warrant keeping the school going.
An 11th hour rescue deal - the kind that saved Dilwyn primary - seems equally unlikely with the governing body and staff at Holme Lacy supporting a shutdown.
It was governors who first approached Herefordshire Council over closure.
Holme Lacy Primary School has the capacity for 70 children.
But over the past five years, numbers have declined from 59 in January 2007 to 38 pupils in January this year.
Numbers have continued to fall since then and there is no evidence that demand for places will increase in the foreseeable future.
If closed, the school’s budget will be reinvested, partly in the schools to which its pupils transfer and, in part, across all the county’s schools.
Closure would cost the council up to £20,000 a year in transporting Holme Lacy’s pupils to other schools.
By comparison, the rural nature of the county requires the council to spend around £5 million a year on home to school transport.