Small is beautiful
It seems that at least once a year I find myself writing about the uncertain future of Norfolk's small rural schools. It's about time this pattern ended. Small schools should not be under threat - full stop. Yes, they are more expensive per pupil to run than larger schools, and sometimes heads struggle to deliver every spit and cough of the national curriculum because of limited numbers.
But there is so much more to education than money. I think a cost-benefit analysis at small schools in Norfolk would show real value-for-money coming from the well-being of the pupils, who get attention and nurturing that can go amiss at some larger primary schools.
There is also the crucial element of community. We've watched in disgust as successive governments have axed post offices in villages. Pubs and shops are also a dying breed. The result is a tragic loss of community. It leaves people rootless and with no sense of belonging. If small schools are also closed - as many have been in the past - it would tear the heart from villages.
Sharing headteachers and governing bodies may save some money and keep the hovering axe from falling. But it shouldn't have to come to that. The time has come for the government to go further than a "presumption against closure" and move to a law against such a move - except in exceptional circumstances.
posted on 02 October 2009 14:53 bySteve Downes