Statutory consultation proposed on closure of Hatherden Church of England Primary School

Hampshire County Council is to propose a statutory consultation on the closure of Hatherden Church of England Primary School in Andover. It follows an informal public consultation in November 2021 which sought views on the potential closure of the school, and gave time to explore other alternatives such as federation with another school

Mar 16 2022

A report recommending consultation to consider the school’s closure will be discussed at the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Roz Chadd’s forthcoming Decision Day on Wednesday 23 March. If approved, a public notice will be published allowing six weeks for parents, staff, the local community and other key stakeholders to feed back on the proposal to close the school.

Hatherden Church of England Primary School is a small rural school and currently has 33 pupils on roll. The school has a mixed history of Ofsted ratings over time, with a current rating of ‘inadequate’ having been given for a second time at the school’s latest inspection in July 2019. The school was served, in September 2019, with an Academy Order by the Department for Education (DfE). This means that responsibility for the school and its education performance must move from the local authority to an independent Academy Trust. Despite an exhaustive search, the DfE has not been able to find an academy sponsor for the school to date and has ruled out the option of federation with another school.

Throughout this time, the school has continued to receive extensive ongoing support from the Hampshire County Council’s Inspection and Advisory Service and the Diocese of Winchester. Whilst Ofsted inspections and monitoring visits undertaken since September 2019 have noted the benefits of this support, the improvements cannot be maintained without substantial ongoing support. Additionally, the number of pupils at the school has declined, adversely impacting the school’s available budget and level of staffing. It is not feasible for the wide range of school responsibilities to be managed by so few staff in the longer term, without support.  

If it is finally agreed that the school should close, this would be effective from the end of the 2021/22 academic year on 31 August 2022. Parents of children attending Hatherden Church of England Primary School can make applications for other school places and, where possible, the local authority will offer parents’ preferred schools. All Hatherden children can, if their parents want them to, move to nearby Appleshaw St Peter's Church of England Primary School. Home to school transport may be provided, in line with the County Council’s policy. Discussions would take place with the staff about their employment and the recognised trade unions.

If the proposed consultation is agreed, a public notice, stating an intention to close the school and providing a six week time frame for people to comment or submit objections, will be published on Hampshire County Council’s website. The report and recommendation to consult can be found also on the County Council’s website.