Welcome to the National Association for Small Schools (NASS)

armathwaite NASS - National Association of Small SchoolsChildren Gardening

NASS is a campaigning organisation. We advise and support small schools at risk of closure, lobby on behalf of small schools and humanity of scale in education and promote the virtues of small schools and known best practice.

We lobby... ministers, political parties, departmental officers, local authorities, dioceses and other decision-makers

We represent... small school interests and priorities in responding to local and national consultations

We inform... the media, both written and broadcast forms

We offer... individual advice to schools

We advise... on educational issues of the day

We present... best practice for outstanding schools and work of high quality

We support... campaigns against school closures and other enforced loss of influence and autonomy

NASS is your insurance! At just £15 a year YOU NEED NASS... so join now!!

The small-scale, human-scale model of education represented in small schools is the closest to the way all of us learn in the real world at home and at work. It thrives on mixed talents, teamwork and individual ideas mediated through others as Vygotsky, Bruner and Wenger have so well argued.

Small schools are at the top of national performance, not least in low income and remote areas. The effective ingredient is the close partnership between parents and teachers. The children feel from the start safe and secure, that effort is worthwhile and achievement possible. The evidence shows exactly that and the high quality of teaching, relationships and related achievement endures.

Please note, we do not maintain lists of small schools or make any recommendations

NASS promotes the work of smaller schools, those with 100 or fewer pupils. NASS believes that smallness of scale has worth.

NASS believes smaller schools offer ideal conditions for young children's learning. Personal attention leads to a sense of identity and a belief that effort is worthwhile. Loyal, committed teachers work as a team, with the children staying well on task. Small schools are caring places, close to home, family & community.

Tired old arguments that small schools cannot cope with the curriculum are now being thoroughly refuted in ways the public understands. In government inspections and national tests small schools are doing as well as and often better than the rest!

NASS affirms that children in small schools are secure, work hard and co-operate effectively, are happy to accept responsibility, have self-esteem, behave very well. NASS believes that small schools are essential to the future well-being of society, ideally placed to serve as significant enterprises in their communities. Both the education of the children and the life of the community are enriched. NASS believes that small schools represent a valuable stake in community provision.

Please join us and help support our work.

DfE Statement (responding to NASS?)

The Designation of Rural Primary Schools (England) 2014 Order came into force on 1 October 2014. Decision makers should refer to the list to confirm that a primary school is a rural school when making proposals for its closure. This document gives the latest list of designated rural schools in England.

The website provides a link to the list. The list, broken down into categories covering villages, hamlets and those on the urban fringe, the vital role these schools can play in serving their communities. Staffordshire has 97, including 16 Moorlands primaries. Even Newcastle district has 10, while East Cheshire has 38. A clear list leaves Councils in no doubt.The DfE says rural status is not 100% protection but decision makers need to take a school's rural designation into account.

Statutory Guidance on closure has in its more recent forms included particular provisions to be followed, at times real statutory duties, when a closure proposal involves a rural school. We have several times found Councils trying to close schools offering rather loose definitions of rurality- it seemed so when Cumbria chose to offer the sparsity grant only to schools three miles from another- not the DfE two miles.

NASS advised the DfE and Ministers that such seeming licence would encourage Councils to claim a given school was not rural- perhaps if the urban sprawl was creeping towards its historical boundary. We advised DfE officers that in response to powerful Scottish legislation insisting on fair process and transparency in closure procedures Scottish Councils had tried to have new definitions of rurality set to take those schools out of the protection of the 2010 Bill. We could see English Councils following such example! NASS can feel very pleased that we raised this issue. Under sparsity terms even the DfE 2 miles was "as the crow flies." As one very rural Lake District school Headteacher pointed out there was a rather high hill between him and the nearest other school which birds could fly over but not vehicles, nor feet twice daily! By road it was much further. In Swindon only two schools qualified so the Council decided not to pay it.