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Delight for campaigners as Tivetshall Primary School to stay open




Christmas has come early for Tivetshall parents after an education trust announced it would keep the at-risk village school open.

The trustees of Sapientia Education Trust have completed a review of the recent public consultation regarding the possible amalgamation of Tivetshall and Burston primary schools.

When it was first announced that the trust was considering closing Tivetshall and merging pupil numbers with Burston, parents and residents launched a campaign against the idea.

Parents, residents and children are delighted that Tivetshall Primary School has been saved. Picture by Mecha Morton.
Parents, residents and children are delighted that Tivetshall Primary School has been saved. Picture by Mecha Morton.

Pupil numbers had fallen at both schools in recent years, but many felt that the new executive headteacher, Mark Carlyle, had not been given sufficient time to increase numbers and that the school’s closure would “destroy the heart of the village”.

The trust told the Diss Express that it had decided against the amalgamation due to strong community and parental support for both schools.

It will not proceed with the proposals and and has vowed to keep both schools open, allowing time for pupil numbers to grow further.

Chief executive Jonathan Taylor said: “It is evident that there is very strong support for both schools, with parents expressing their strong satisfaction with the education provided.

“While numbers do need to increase in the medium term, this has already started with a net gain of seven children across both schools since October, as a direct result of word of mouth parental support.”

He added: “We are committed to supporting parental choice, which includes supporting small schools in rural areas. While we obviously have to work within constraints, as a local trust we fully understand the value that schools play in rural communities.”

The news was met with delight among the Tivetshall community.

Campaigner Paul Playford, whose five children went to Tivetshall Primary School, said: “That is amazing news – a celebration before Christmas. There is still a lot of work to do but the heart is there.

“I think the trust was quite surprised that people wanted the school to remain open. Let’s hope it goes from strength to strength.”

Parent Lisa Thrower was also happy for her daughter, Poppy, who goes to the school.

“Poppy started in 2017 and has loved the school and, in the future, we know our son, Logan, will love it as much once he starts in September 2020,” she said.

“It is a fantastic school with happy, friendly and polite children, who want to learn in what is a wonderful space. They have amazing staff that support and educate the children.”

She added: “We are delighted, as a family, that Tivetshall Primary School is staying open.

“We would like to thank the trust for keeping our village school open and to the parents and local community for all their efforts.”

Executive Headteacher Mr Carlyle said: “I would encourage potential parents to visit to see first-hand why parents and children are so positive about their experiences at Tivetshall and Burston schools.

“I am very proud of what we offer and this is great news.”

This article appeared in the Diss Express on December 6.


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