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St Mary's Primary in Dilwyn set to get free school status
ST Mary’s Primary School in Dilwyn, the tiny independent which fought off closure, is getting its coveted free school status.
St Mary’s currently has more staff than pupils, but has managed to stay afloat through the dedicated commitment of volunteers. Free school status means it will get Government funding and can start re-paying those hard-working volunteers.
Headteacher John Gerrish said free school status still needs a final sign-off but that he hoped it was only a few weeks away.
“We are absolutely certain in what we are doing and are delighted that we have been successful in the application and look forward from going from our present status to a new one,” he said.
“We currently have 19 pupils, but we have got significant interest from new parents who are interested in sending their children to the school next year and have a capacity of 56 pupils.
“Together, we hope to achieve that in four to five years, which theoretically will mean that there will be eight in each class from reception to year six.”
“It is thanks to the community that this has been able to happen,” he said.
A little school’s big fight to stay open
Back in December 2010, Herefordshire Council supported closing then Dilwyn Primary School saying it would soon cost too much to keep it open.
There was a fierce campaign to keep the school open, even when a bid for academy status was dashed at the last minute.
School supporters blamed the council for making it “impossible” for the Government to sign off the necessary funding.
However, children were back behind the desks when Dilwyn reopened last September as St Mary's, a non-fee paying independent school run by volunteers.
By May, Ofsted was impressed enough with what it saw to give the school a strong grading.
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