'Prince George Effect' Saves Primary School From Closure

17/10/2014 11:04 | Updated 20 May 2015

'Prince George effect' saves primary school from closure

The 'Prince George effect' has saved a tiny primary school from closure.

Chirton village school in Wiltshire was under threat because not enough families were enrolling their children as pupils.

So in an exercise in 'persuasive writing', 11 children wrote to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, inviting them to enrol 15-month-old George as a pupil when he's old enough.

To their surprise, staff and children received a reply 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 – which caught the imagination of the media.

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

In 2012 there were just 19 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 kids, boosting the school roll to 45 pupils, which is more than enough to stave off the threat.

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Associate headteacher Amy Bekker Wrench told the local newspaper she believes the school's new lifeline is thanks to publicity surrounding the royal response, which has attracted more parents to enrol their children.

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

She added: "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.

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