THE go-ahead has been given for a school to close its doors.

The Secretary of State for Education today (January 25) gave final approval for the closure of Baldersby St James CE Primary School near Thirsk at the end of this year’s summer term.

The York and Hull based academy group, Hope Sentamu Learning Trust announced last year their intentions to shut the school on August 31 this year.

A spokesperson for the trust said the decision had been taken following two rounds of detailed advice to the Secretary of State. Hope Sentamu Learning Trust has also worked collaboratively with the Department for Education (DfE), North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and the Diocese of York. Parents and staff have been informed.

Pupil numbers at the school have been low for several years, posing a continual challenge to the school in providing the breadth of educational experience for its pupils. The small, rural school has just 22 pupils in two classes, one for Key Stage 1 pupils and the other for Key Stage 2. Some year groups have just one student.

Pupil numbers show no prospect of improving for many years ahead, with predictions for demand for school places showing a steady decline until 2031/32.

Today a spokesperson for the school said: “We have received final confirmation from the Secretary of State that the school will close at the end of this year’s summer term. This has been a very difficult decision.

“Since the conversion of Baldersby St James Primary School, we have undertaken a significant amount of work and invested resources to make the school a vibrant and positive learning environment. Despite our efforts, however, the number of pupils on roll has reduced. The requirement to combine classes, because of the existing and projected low pupil numbers, created too significant a challenge in providing the breadth of educational experience that our pupils require and deserve. That is the conclusion reached working in collaboration with both North Yorkshire County Council and the Department for Education.

“We will continue to work closely with parents, staff and the local authority to ensure we provide the support needed during this transition period. We are committed to continuing to provide a quality education to all children at Baldersby St James for the remainder of this school year, and we would like to thank all parents, pupils, staff and the local community, for their continued support.”