Brackley Primary School closing due to falling numbers


Despite an improving Ofsted rating governors say the school is no longer viable

A Brackley primary school is set to shut at the end of this school year as it is no longer financially viable.   Southfield Primary Academy has informed parents that falling numbers of pupils – and predicted future falls – had led to the decision.

The school says they are working closely with West Northamptonshire Council and the Department for Education to ensure that all affected children will have access to an alternative nearby school.

A spokesperson told Banbury FM: “It is with great sadness that we must announce the decision to close Southfield Primary Academy at the end of this academic year 2023/24, which has been approved by the Department for Education (DfE). Unfortunately, and despite the significant improvements made in the quality of education, the continued falling numbers of pupils on roll, along with the predicted drop in future numbers, has resulted in the school becoming financially unviable. This means that we are unable to afford to keep the school open beyond 19 July 2024. 

“We have informed West Northamptonshire Council of this decision, who are working closely with us and the DfE to ensure all affected children have access to an alternative nearby school, with no break in education – this is a council priority.   

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision and we know how unsettling this news has been for all. We are doing everything we can to support students, parents and staff, and will continue to do so throughout the academic year working closely with the DfE and our local authority.”

Ofsted’s latest inspection report for Southfield Primary Academy in January 2022 rated it as “requires improvement”.   This showed the school’s performance had progressed since the previous inspection in 2019 rated it as “inadequate”.

At the time of the most recent inspection there were 148 pupils on the school roll.

West Northamptonshire’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills, Councillor Fiona Baker said: “West Northamptonshire Council was informed of the Department for Education’s (DfE) approval following the decision by the Trustees of Southfields Primary to close the school at the end of 2023/24 academic year due to a shortfall in the take up of places making the school financially unviable.

“We understand for parents, carers and the students at Southfields Primary Academy, that this news will cause uncertainty. We will work closely with the school to provide information to keep those affected informed throughout this process.

“Our admissions team will be on hand as part of the in-person sessions being held by the school for parents, to answer any questions. We would like to provide assurance of the work underway to ensure all children have a school place for the start of 2024/25 school year within a reasonable distance of Southfields Primary School. To ensure some continuity for families, the Council is committed to working with other local schools to review available places in the Brackley area.”

Southfield Primary School became an academy in December 2012.   Its last Ofsted inspection before academy status rated the school as “Good”.

The primary school first opened in 1973, having previously been Brackley High School for girls.

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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