Saturday, August 20

Prince George ‘saves’ tiny primary school from closure

The Telegraph
Prince George© John Stillwell – PA Wire Prince George A tiny primary school has been saved from closure after pupils wrote to Prince George and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appealing for help.Chirton village school in Wiltshire was under threat because not enough families were enrolling their children as pupils.But the ‘Prince George effect’ was given as the reason behind the school being saved from closure.

In their letter to the royal couple, the children said how much they love their school and even invited the Duke and Duchess to enrol George, now fifteen months old, as a pupil when he is old enough.

The letter to the Duke and Duchess was written after eleven children, aged from seven to 11, took part in an exercise on ‘persuasive writing’.

Staff and children were shocked to get a letter back saying how impressed the Royal couple were with the school.

Each pupil received a personal reply to their letter, plus a photo of William, Kate and George.

There has since been a flood of new pupils and the roll call is now twice what it was two years ago.

In 2012 there were just nineteen pupils, and last year only four more joined the reception class, which led to education chiefs talking about closure.

But this term the reception class has enrolled 14 youngsters, boosting the school roll to 45 pupils, which is more than enough to stave off the threat.

Associate headteacher Amy Bekker Wrench said she believes the school’s new lifeline is thanks to publicity surrounding the royal response whichy has attracted more parents to enrol their children.

Ms Bekker-Wrench also hopes to be given permission for an extension for extra space, or an additional new building.

Mrs Bekker Wrench said: “The story got a lot of publicity and certainly got people talking about us which is a good thing.”

She said the school governors are now in discussion with Wiltshire Council about how it can expand.

“We are very lucky as we have a big field so there would be room for a new school to be built while the old one is still in existence. It would really be a dream come true.”

She said Chirton was also a Forest School, which means the children spend time each week in a wooded area that’s used as an outdoor, ‘fresh and stretch your legs’ classroom.