The school has 31 pupils on roll at the moment and 21unfilled places. There have been 36 pupils or less on roll in all but one of the four preceding years. In line with Herefordshire Council's small schools policy, a full school review was carried out by Herefordshire Council and the Diocesan Board of Education and a consultation was undertaken by the council earlier this year.
The consultation included exploring opportunities for the school to look at federation with other schools and the benefits that this might bring.
The report presented to Cabinet members said that responses to the consultation showed strong community support to keep the school open, but did not offer solutions to the issues faced by the school: low pupil numbers, surplus empty places at neighbouring schools with pupil numbers continuing to fall, the range of educational provision available to the children and financial sustainability.
St Mary's RC High School had submitted a proposal to work in
close partnership with Dilwyn School which members learned had
been considered by local authority officers, the Diocese of
Hereford and the Archdiocese of Cardiff. After careful
analysis of the proposal, it was their view that the proposal
did not adequately address concerns about pupil numbers,
finance, sustainability of improvement in teaching and
learning, and assessment and safeguarding
Councillor Phillip Price, cabinet member for ICT, education and performance, said: "Decisions to close schools are always difficult, but we are currently in a climate of budget reductions, cuts and falling pupil numbers.
"When a school's pupil numbers are consistently low as Dilwyn's have been, the council's small schools policy stipulates that the school needs to be reviewed to see if it can continue to offer its pupils the standard of education they have a right to and to ensure the school is financially viable.
"In this particular case, the review concluded that despite a desire to keep the school open, there are no robust proposals in place to guarantee this."
The council will issue a statutory notice to close the school early in September 2010. This will be followed by a six week period during which comments or objections may be made to the council. Cabinet will then make a final decision on the future of the school, taking into account any responses it receives to the formal notice to close.
The time scale for the proposed closure is August 2011 which
will give just over a year for any measures issued by the
coalition government to be considered.