Bainbridge, 21 February 2017
Reacting to North Yorkshire County Council’s decision to close Horton-in-Ribblesdale Primary School, the Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Carl Lis, said:
“I am saddened by the decision to close Horton-in-Ribblesdale Primary School. It could have a significant detrimental impact on the viability of the community.
“In common with many other remote rural areas, the National Park has a population that is already significantly older than the national average. As rural communities lose schools, so it becomes increasingly unlikely that they can hold on to, or attract, families with young children – creating a vicious cycle in which services continue to decline.
“The National Park Authority has no direct role in the provision of local schools. But the vision that we and our partners have set out in the YDNP Management Plan is for the Park to be ‘home to strong, self-reliant and balanced communities’.
“With the support of the National Park Authority, Craven District Council is embarking on a strategic approach to attract more young families to the Dales. We can achieve that only by safeguarding services, including by retaining good access to primary schools.
“However, I do recognise that some schools face severe financial difficulties and that the County Council, along with all other public bodies, has tough decisions to make.”