The pace of village primary school closures is rising again, despite a Government order which says they should stay open, according to a new report.
In the past ten years, 285 country schools have closed and a lack of affordable homes and local jobs mean more could be at risk, the Rural Coalition has said. The Labour government's policy was a "presumption" against shutting village schools.
"With fewer young families and low-income households able to access housing in villages, services such as schools, buses and Post Offices become even less viable - and if lost altogether further threaten the sustainability of communities," said the coalition, a partnership between the plan-ning and business associations Action with Communities in Rural England and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
"From 1998 to 2009, there have been 285 rural primary school closures, and the pace of closures of village schools is rising once again, despite the presumption against the closure of village schools adopted by the Government in 2009."