Page last updated at 16:13 GMT, Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Devon's smallest schools facing funding review

Broadwoodwidger Primary School
The forum says small schools are more expensive

A review of some of the smallest schools in Devon has been recommended by an independent advisory body, because of funding concerns.

The number of primary schools with fewer than 30 pupils has risen from two to 14 in the past decade.

Devon Education Forum said the smallest schools can be particularly expensive.

In a report to Devon County Council, the forum warns further cuts in education are expected and changes will be needed to meet budget pressures.

The forum is made up of head teachers, governors and people involved in education.

Closures 'emotive'

While it accepted small schools were very important to their largely rural communities, it said new options need to be looked at if education budgets are to be sustainable and equitable.

In a consultation document, which has been sent out to all Devon's schools, it suggests sharing administration duties including the possibility of head teachers and governing bodies serving multiple schools.

The forum is also questioning the viability of secondary schools with less than 500 pupils, although it has acknowledged that any school closure would be both controversial and emotive.

Chairman Ivan Godrey, said the forum would not pretend it would be "easy or painless", but to do nothing was not an option.

Meetings are scheduled to take place across the county next month.

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