100-year-old Derbyshire school set to close over budget problems

A Derbyshire infant school built more than 100 years ago is set to be closed due to budget issues.

By Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 25th July 2022, 10:58 am

Wirksworth is home to two infant schools, both of which have a capacity for 60 pupils, totalling 120 pupils.

Wirksworth Infant School in Harrison Drive currently has 31 pupils while Wirksworth Church of England Infant School in Greenway Croft has 47 pupils and both are in properties which were built before 1919.

Both schools, rated Good by Ofsted in 2012, are overseen by the Wirksworth Federation of Infant Schools.

Wirksworth Infant School in Harrison Drive, Wirksworth

Read More

Read More
Derbyshire police concerned for safety of missing man

Derbyshire County Council is considering closing the Harrison Drive property and moving the pupils across to the Greenway Croft site, 200 yards away.

It would then look to find potential future uses for the Harrison Drive site.

Council documents detail: “There are two infant schools in Wirksworth – Wirksworth Infant School and Wirksworth Church of England (CofE) Infant School.

“The two schools are federated under one full-time headteacher and they have a joint governing body.

“Despite rationalisation of staff and other resources the federation has a deficit balance and is projected to be unable to balance its budget over the medium term if it continues to operate two schools.”

It says the deficit at the Harrison Drive site would reach £128,130 by 2025 if it is not closed.

The council says staff from the Harrison Drive site would be relocated to the Greenway Croft school with no redundancies anticipated.

The federation says if the schools are merged onto one site, then pupils could be taught in single year classes which could avoid a potential “educational disadvantage”.

The council says the projected pupil numbers at each site are set to decline, but that incoming potential housing developments at the nearby Middle Peak Quarry site are set to see this increase.

It says a new school is planned as part of the housing developments but the council says: “The timing of that new school is however uncertain and is unlikely to be delivered before children start to be accommodated in the new houses.”

The council says that if the Harrison Drive site is closed, then the Greenway Croft school could have its capacity increased from 60 to 87 by using the hall for extra classroom space, alongside three existing classrooms.

It also says that 19 people have responded to a consultation survey on closing Wirksworth Infant School and of those who took part, 12 were in support, two were against and the others did not state any kind of preference.

The council details that the Harrison Drive site is out of date and has numerous level changes which mean create problems around accessibility .

It says neither site has scope for expansion and that both have shortfalls in teaching and support space. Both sites are “well below” the recommended Department for Education area sizes – with 2,213 square metres at the Greenway Croft site and 989 square metres at the Harrison Drive site.