BROKEN LINKS: Some of the links in this site use the domain
Because the site is no longer maintained, those links no longer work.
But if you substitute that part of the page's address with, they will work for you.
Sorry, but there's no time to go back and edit the whole site!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

"Government Strategy Is Keeping Rural Schools Alive"

That quote referenced in an earlier post came from Jacqui Smith, the now Home Secretary, when she was Schools Minister. On 9 May 2000, she was reported thus:

Government Strategy Is Keeping Rural Schools Alive

Schools Minister Jacqui Smith said today that Government support for rural schools has kept many of them open in rural villages which would otherwise have closed. It is right she said, to put the interests of the village before those of the planner.

Speaking at a Local Government Association Conference she said: "With the strict new guidelines we introduced two years ago, we have reduced the rate of closure of rural schools to an eighth of what it was 10 years ago and got the number of closures down from 30 a year to a current average of four a year.

A contemporaneous photo of Jacqui Smith"These figures clearly demonstrate our commitment to retaining schools at the heart of rural communities. Between 1983 and the beginning of 1998 there were 450 closures of rural schools - some of them tearing the heart out of local communities and villages. This is not acceptable and that is why we have made it much harder to close down the schools."

"Today we welcome the willingness of the Local Government Association (LGA) to encourage greater community use of rural schools as a practical way forward. This will ensure rural schools become a genuine asset to the whole community.

"The Small School Support Fund will from September provide £40 million for small schools in England over two years. Many rural schools have less than 200 pupils and these will benefit from the money. It will allow them to address their own individual circumstances, develop productive partnerships with other schools and raise standards.

"We are listening to all parties in the debate about rural education. In 1996 21 rural school closures were approved and in 1995 the figure was 47. Now approvals for rural closures are only given in exceptional circumstances where numbers have dwindled, there is a nearby clear alternative and where there will not be a significant effect on the local community.

"Rural schools are often the lifeblood of local communities. I know there are difficult decisions which local authorities have to take. But in the case of village schools, we were right to put the village before the planner.


* The school extra grants from the Budget will particularly help small rural schools with £3,000 for every primary with fewer than 100 pupils and £30,000 for secondaries with fewer than 600 pupils;

* £80 million of new money is being made available under the Standards Fund between 1999-2001 specifically to tackle administrative overload in small schools. As a result, professional teaching staff will have more time to spend on activities which directly improve pupil attainment;


"Working together there is much we can do to support rural communities - and schools which are at the heart of them. We have achieved a lot to date with our new approach and I am confident that the guidance we have produced ensures that this presumption in favour of rural schools continues in the future."
That's a strong commitment to making schools like Combs Infant School flourish - just as the people of Combs want it to. And it's still the government's policy.

No comments: