Aysgarth and District Parish Council has again agreed that the bussing of the youngest children from West Burton CofE School to Bainbridge by the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools (BAWB) for lessons must stop.
At its meeting on Thursday February 21 the council welcomed the invitation from BAWB to the West Burton Representative Group to engage with it in a small working party on Tuesday March 19.
Cllr David Pointon, an educational consultant who is a member of the Representative Group, reminded the council that the first request for defederation from BAWB by parents of pupils at West Burton school was made in January 2018.
He added that BAWB had refused defederation and was continuing with bussing the youngest children which was one of the main things that parents were objecting to. “The community is still not satisfied,” he said.
Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock described as dreadful had been the lack of communication by the BAWB governors. “We’ve had emails but we haven’t had a conversation. To me the governors should have dealings with people, with the parents.”
Another Richmondshire District councillor, Caroline Thornton-Berry agreed that the governors didn’t seem to know that the West Burton parents were so unhappy. She told the council that she had invited one of the BAWB governors to have coffee with her – only for that governor to say that the chair of governors had said she shouldn’t accept.
One of the parish councillors spoke of a teaching head at a church school of 120 pupils who was at the top of the pay scale who earned about £20,000 less per year than the non-teaching head of BAWB which has 80 pupils. BAWB also has a part time business manager.
“The financial situation at BAWB is unsustainable,” commented Cllr Thornton-Berry. She also pointed out that, unlike councillors, the governing body of a school was unanswerable to anyone and was free to make all decisions apart from that to close a school.
Cllr Pointon emphasised that the most important issue was the needs of the children – and the councillors agreed that bussing the youngest children was contrary to that.
See: Cllr Pointon’s statement about educating primary school children.