Village school bell sounds for final time

Out Rawcliffe Primary School is closed because of falling pupil numbers and a deficit budget.
Out Rawcliffe Primary School is closed because of falling pupil numbers and a deficit budget.

Parents left devastated by the closure of a village school say the battle is not over.

The gates of Out Rawcliffe Primary School closed for the last time on Friday – but campaigners say they are currently taking advice about the possibility of getting the school into community ownership to open it once more.

County Hall chiefs decided the school should shut following a consultation last year because of its rapidly declining student intake and deficit budget.

The decision was backed by the Diocese of Blackburn.

The school on Crook Get Lane has the capacity for 70 pupils. But 52 pupils were on the register five years ago, 16 at the start of last year and just four when the bell rang for the last time on Friday afternoon.

Parents said the last day at the school was very emotional.

Peter Raine, whose seven-year-old daughter will now attend Nateby Primary School, said: “In the end there were only four children there, but the last day was very tearful.

“We feel let down, because there was no reason to shut the school.

“We are talking with solicitors about how we can take the building into community ownership.

“We would like to open it as a school once more.

“It’s more than 100 years old, and forms part of our village traditions.

“The school going is like a nail in the coffin for our other traditions.”

County Coun Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “I can confirm that the school has closed.

“When these decisions are made there is always some regret, however a school simply cannot carry on with numbers as low as they were at Out Rawcliffe. There are lots of really good primary and junior schools in Lancashire, not too far from Out Rawcliffe.”

Follow us on twitter @The_Gazette and like our page on facebook to keep up with all the latest news.