The Government recognises that small schools are an important part of the social fabric of rural communities. They will continue to be a feature of our education landscape. In these extremely challenging times, all public servants are being asked to deliver our public services on a reduced level of resources and teachers in small schools cannot be immune from this requirement. How best to sustain provision for widely dispersed and small local communities does present as a particular challenge, especially in any locality where enrolment is declining to single figures. The Government is intent in fostering pluralism in school provision. Supporting small communities including minorities in maintaining their schools is part of that policy.
The value for money review of small primary school provision is at an advanced stage of preparation. I expect to publish the review and I look forward to debating its findings at that stage. My Department and I will continue to engage with the relevant education sector stakeholders in relation to education provision for all areas.