Magazine article Public Finance

Schools Face Closure as Rural Idyll Starts to Fade

Magazine article Public Finance

Schools Face Closure as Rural Idyll Starts to Fade

Article excerpt

Rural primary schools are closing at a rate of one per month because of a shortage of affordable homes, education and housing groups claimed this week.

As rising house prices force families with children to move to urban areas, school closures in rural England are running at their highest level since the mid-1990s, said a study published on September 1.

Thirteen rural primary schools shut last year and 14 in 2007, according to figures obtained by the National Housing Federation in conjunction with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and National Association for Small Schools.

Earlier this decade, rural primaries were closing at an average of three per year. This followed government guidance in 1998 urging local authorities to keep schools open wherever possible.

But, according to the latest study, declining numbers of children mean that schools are again under threat as villages are increasingly populated by older people, rich commuters and second-home owners. 'The gentrificatlon of much of the countryside has priced out families and young people who support local schools, shops and pubs,' it said. …

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