Fresh fears for future of Badwell Ash Primary School as majority of governing body resign

Badwell Ash Primary School.
Badwell Ash Primary School.
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Parents fear a village school, which was saved from closure months ago, could be under threat once more after the majority of its governing body resigned.

Six governors of Badwell Ash Church of England Primary stepped down with immediate effect this week fuelling concerns among the community of how the school is going to move forward.

The body had planned to close the school due to issues surrounding its financial viability and pupil numbers but made a u-turn in June following a campaign by parents.

Since then they had asked Suffolk County Council to bring in a ‘professional interim executive board’ as they were ‘not assured’ they could achieve ‘required rapid improvements within a short timescale and balanced budget’, according to a letter to the authority’s education boss Sue Cook.

In the letter, the governors said they thought the interim board would be ‘appointed as a matter of urgency’ but were recently told it ‘could take upto two months’. They added: “Knowing that our tenure is time limited the governing body would be unable to make decisions regarding the school’s financial position or any matters which might have an impact beyond our term of office. Neither would we be able to effect the required rapid improvements in attainment levels.”

They noted that the body now has just one governor.

It follows the resignation of The Venerable John Cox as chairman of governors in August. He said: “I felt that would be the best for the future of the school.”

On Monday about 25 people flocked to a meeting with Bury MP David Ruffley about the issue. He pledged to speak to the council ‘as to what they intend to do about this unacceptable state of affairs’.

Parent Julie Evans, who has two children at the school, said: “We’re really concerned and angry. We feel our children deserve to go to a village school where they live.”

Karl Hortt, chairman of Badwell Ash Parish Council, said they are receiving advice from the Association of Small Schools.

A spokesman for the council said they applied to the Secretary of State for permission to create an interim executive board and ‘are awaiting a response’.

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese said they ‘continue to work closely with the local education authority’ in supporting the school.