SUPPORTERS of a Yorkshire Dales primary school have pledged to stand firm against its closure.

More than 100 villagers gathered at the public meeting to consider proposals to shut Clapham CE Primary School.

North Yorkshire County Council has launched a public consultation, saying the 28-pupil school can no longer afford its own head teacher and faces a £28,000 shortfall next year.

Iain Crossley, chair of the newly formed Clapham School Steering Group, said the wider community had "united" to keep the Victorian school open.

He said there was "a strong danger" the Yorkshire Dales National Park would "lose even more young families who are such an important part of a balanced community where young and old thrive and support each other" if Clapham's school closed.

Mr Crossley said the village's "soul and vibrancy" would be compromised and its strong sense of community "undermined", adding: "It is critical that we halt the loss of any more rural primary schools."

Nine miles from Clapham, Horton-in-Ribblesdale's primary school closed in 2017 after "considerable local objection", he added.

He said the group wants to work alongside school governors to help them put forward "a robust and viable" case on "financial, demographic and educational" grounds.

He added the steering group felt able to present evidence that shutting Clapham's doors would be "short-sighted and not in the best interests of the children, parents or the wider community".

Ofsted rated the school 'outstanding' eight years ago, but the county council says pupil numbers have fallen to a level where "it will be difficult to provide a high quality of education" long term.

If the county council approves the closure, the school would shut on August 31 this year.

Steering group chair Mr Crossley said the public meeting, chaired by the county council, was "constructive and vibrant".

In December 2016 planning permission was granted in open countryside in Clapham for new homes, he told the Gazette. He said it was allowed after councillors heard it could help boost numbers at the school.

Clapham School Steering Group says it hopes to work "constructively" with the county council, governing body and local community to "ensure the school continues to thrive for the foreseeable future".

To have your say on the consultation, see