A VILLAGE primary school, which has been in danger of closure, is forming a collaboration with a North Yorkshire school federation which could secure its future.

It was announced in September that governors of Stillington Community Primary, one of the smallest schools in North Yorkshire with 19 pupils, had voted to seek to consult on the school’s closure at the end of this academic year.

But the North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) executive member for education and skills deferred a decision to consult on a possible closure for Stillington Community Primary to allow time for governors to explore opportunities for collaboration with partner schools.

The Gazette has been told that, since October, the governors of Stillington Community Primary School, supported by NYCC, have been in constructive discussions with Foston and Terrington CE Federation about a partnership.

Since January this year, Foston and Terrington Federation has been providing school-to-school support for Stillington until the school closed due the coronavirus outbreak.

Foston and Terrington governing board has now approved moving forward to formal collaboration with Stillington from September this year, with a view to consulting on federation in the future.

The chair of governors at Foston and Terrington, Helen Ashdown, wrote to parents: “The governors believe this is the way forward for sustaining small rural schools, which play such a vital role in their communities.

“As a federation of Church Schools, we see supporting communities as an important part of our vision. We feel this is an exciting and positive development for all three schools.”

Stillington school received a visit from Ofsted inspectors in January last year and was judged to be inadequate in the overall effectiveness category.

However, it received an Ofsted HMI monitoring inspection early in February, which records that “leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures”.

The inspection also found that “the local authority’s statement of action is fit for purpose” and “the school’s improvement and action plans are fit for purpose”.

The chair of governors at the school is Corinne Cross.

She said: “We are pleased with this positive judgement, which reflects the hard work and commitment of the whole school team, including parents who have continued to support the school.

“The HMI’s report recognises the improvements made since the previous Ofsted inspection in January 2019 and acknowledges the potential for more rapid improvement as the partnership with Foston and Terrington progresses.”