PUPILS started the new academic year at Clapham CoE Primary School and Nursery last week - with parents delighted they still had a school to go to.

Following a hard fought battle by parents and the community, the school, which had been threatened with closure because of falling numbers, was given a reprieve by North Yorkshire County Council.

Over the summer months, volunteers have been busy inside and out and the around 25 pupils were welcomed back by a new head of school, Adam Kay, formerly of Westbourne Primary School in Bradford; executive head, Mathew Atkinson, and two additional teachers.

Marilyn Galpin, chairman of governors, said: “We are delighted to bring Mathew, Adam and the teachers on board, their expertise and down-to-earth approach is just what the school needs to draw a line under the challenges the school faced when closure was threatened; even before the school reopened, their drive and energy during the summer break has impressed the Governors”.

Mr Atkinson added: “The governors together with the local authority and the diocese have identified the areas for improvement and we are confident that external inspections of the school will confirm that the changes being made are the right ones; it’s a vote of confidence in the school that the county council have actively sought leadership for the school and provided the financial support to enable this to happen”.

Iain Crossley, chairman of the community action group which fought to save the school, said; “The community is working with the governors to ensure the school will be there for future generations of local children and the Friends of Clapham School are helping to raise funds and develop the school in any way we can.”

Zoe Richardson, chairman of the friends of Clapham School, said they were looking forward to the new academic year. “We are delighted to be welcoming new children to the school and celebrating a fresh and inspiring approach to our children’s learning and well-being.”