A PRIMARY school is facing closure amid dwindling numbers of pupils and an 'unsustainable' financial position.

Westmorland and Furness Council has launched a consultation on the potential closure of North Walney Primary and Nursery School, which has fewer than 30 pupils.

The council is concerned about the decline in the number of pupils at the school and the resulting impact on the school’s financial position.

As a result, the council is consulting on the school’s future and the views of everybody that has an interest in the school will be considered, it says.

Currently, the number of pupils at the school is just 27, with the school able to accommodate up to 161 children.

Cllr Sue Sanderson, the council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, said: “The decision to close a school isn’t one the council would take lightly and it’s important we hear the views of everyone with an interest in North Walney Primary and Nursery School.

“Sadly, we’re concerned the school’s current financial position is unsustainable and it’s difficult to see how things will improve in the future if pupil numbers do not improve.

“As a former headteacher myself, I sympathise hugely with the staff, pupils, parents and local community surrounding North Walney School and we’ll support them throughout this process.

"Our decision to consult on this issue is also not a reflection on the dedicated staff at North Walney, who have done everything they can under difficult circumstances and will continue to do so until a final decision is made on the school’s future. ”

According to the council, there has been a continuous drop in numbers across all year groups over recent years.

In 2019/20 the number of pupils at the school was 84, by 2021/22 this number had fallen to 67 with a further reduction to 22 by 2022/23.

The school faced closure last year amid fears of its financial sustainability and a vacancy for a headteacher.

But it reopened following the summer break with a new head in post.

In line with national trends, the number of births in the North Walney catchment area has also reduced in recent years, as it has across Walney Island, the council says.

Because fewer children are being born, the chances of significant growth in pupil numbers for North Walney School are low.

The council says there is also a surplus of school places across the surrounding area, with five other schools within a two-mile radius of North Walney Primary School, four of which are located on Walney Island.

The low number of pupils attending the school also means the schools funding is making it difficult to achieve a balanced budget, and this is expected to become increasingly difficult in the coming years.

School budgets are directly linked to the number of children at a school and funding allocations are based on a nationally agreed formula.

This means no additional financial support can be provided to the school.

In addition to completing an online questionnaire, the council will be hosting a consultation meeting on Wednesday November 8 at the school, in Duddon Drive.

The consultation will run for six weeks until December 12.

It can be found at https://consult.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk/