Primary Schools in rural areas play a very important role within their communities.
On 2 October 2015 the Department for Education published its updated “List of Designated Rural Primary Schools 2015.” Amendments to the 2014 list came into effect from 6 October 2015, by the Designation of Rural Primary Schools (England) Order 2015 SI 2015/1748.
The purpose of the list is to identify those primary schools which are “rural” and which would therefore benefit the further scrutiny and consideration afforded by Section 15 of the Education and Inspection Act 2006, which provides that where a Local Authority is considering discontinuing (closing) a ‘rural’ primary school, it must have consideration for certain factors when drawing up its proposals. Those factors, set out in Section 15 (4) of the Education and Inspection Act 2006 are:
- The likely effect of discontinuance of the school in the local community;
- The availability, and likely cost to the Local Authority of transport to other schools;
- Any increase in the use of motor vehicles which is likely to result from discontinuance of the school, and the likely effects of any such increase;
- Any alternatives to the discontinuance of the school.
By identifying whether a school is classified as a designated rural primary school, this forces the Local Authority to give serious consideration to whether it must do so or whether the school can remain open for the greater good of, not only the local community, but surrounding communities which may also be rural and which may be impacted upon negatively by such a closure.
To find out whether your local primary school is a designated rural primary school you can view the list on the Government website.