Councillor Chadd commented: “I know that, since the school’s Ofsted judgement of ‘inadequate’ in 2019, officers have worked hard to support the school and that the Department for Education has been seeking an academy sponsor for the school throughout, unfortunately to no avail. Furthermore, other potential routes have been thoroughly explored with the DfE, such as the option of forming a federation with another school. I am disappointed that the DfE ruled out federation.
“Proceeding with a consultation on the proposed closure of the school is a regrettable but now necessary decision and is taken with the best interests of the school’s children in mind. They deserve to enjoy a consistently good standard of education, and this is not possible in the long term without the school receiving significant ongoing support.
“We do not underestimate the implications that a decision to close would have on the school community and strongly encourage families, staff and the local community to take part in the consultation. I want to be clear that, should the decision be taken to close the school, every step would be taken to support both the families and staff affected.”
Following the decision to consult on the closure of the school, a public notice will be published from 25 March 2022 allowing six weeks for parents, staff, the local community and other key stakeholders to feed back on the proposal to close the school.
The proposal to close the school follows a complex mix of historical issues pre-dating the Covid-19 pandemic which have impacted the effective operation of the school. This led, in September 2019, to the school being served by the Department for Education (DfE) with an Academy Order which requires responsibility for the school to move from the Local Authority to an independent Academy Trust. The DfE has not been able to find an academy sponsor.
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 would be able to make applications for places at other schools and, where possible, the Local Authority would offer parents a place at one of their preferred schools. There would be capacity for all Hatherden (CofE) Primary’s existing children, if their parents so wished, to move to nearby Appleshaw St Peter's Church of England Primary School. Home to school transport may be provided in this instance, in line with the County Council’s policy. Discussions would take place with the staff about their employment and the recognised trade unions.
The public notice advertising the consultation on the closure of the school will be published on Hampshire County Council’s website on 25 March 2022. Anyone wishing to take part in the consultation will have six weeks from this date to contribute their feedback.