Ben Nevis climb to help school

Mothers from Welbourn Primary School, raising money for the school by walking up Ben Nevis. From left, is Stacey Watford, Katherine Thompson, Anna Dawson, Molly Raspin, Katie Gordon. EMN-180509-115023001
Mothers from Welbourn Primary School, raising money for the school by walking up Ben Nevis. From left, is Stacey Watford, Katherine Thompson, Anna Dawson, Molly Raspin, Katie Gordon. EMN-180509-115023001

A troop of determined mums are setting out to scale Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis to help turn around a little school near Sleaford.

Welbourn C of E Primary School was rocked by a 2017 Ofsted report rating it as ‘Requires improvement.’

Shocked parents along Lincolnshire’s prestigious cliff address are now worried just seven new pupils have signed on to start in September - dramatically cutting the school’s funding per head.

In a bid to help with the loss of income, parents, nicknaming themselves ‘Mums on a Mission’ have launched an appeal to bolster the school. They say the school can make their children ‘happy and successful’ and they are determined to make the changes.

Led by campaigner Katie Gordon, 35, they are raising funds by taking on a sponsored climb of Ben Nevis today (Saturday).

Katie, who has a daughter aged five at the school, said: “We thought the Ofsted report went too far. We agree the school needs some improvement - but they completely missed how happy and nurtured the pupils are. The reports can be so dangerous because of the stigma they create. And now we have just seven new pupils starting.

“We refuse to let the school - and our children’s futures - be defined by that report.

“Our belief is we need to concentrate on boosting the school’s facilities. By making it more attractive we believe we can get more pupils in. As numbers grow the school’s funding will increase - and it can really start to tackle some of the challenges inspectors have set. Our priority is to create an outdoor learning area.

“So many of the families live in Lincolnshire because they love the countryside and the outdoors. We want that to be at the centre of our children’s learning and we believe it could be the catalyst for a raft of changes and improvements. The school has been set a mountain to climb - so that’s exactly what we’re doing to start raising money for it.”

New headteacher Tracy Boulter said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that parents have given the school since my appointment and feel privileged to be part of the Welbourn community. We are all dedicated to ensuring our children receive the best possible education and this funding will help us to improve our provision. I am confident this school can be turned around and could even strive for Outstanding in years to come.

“Ofsted recognised that our ‘pupils enjoy coming to school and behave impeccably’ - so we owe it to our children to give them the best Primary school experience.”

The mums will be tackling Ben Nevis today (September 8), hoping to raise funds for outdoor play equipment at the school.

On Saturday, September 15, Welbourn School is holding a funday, from 10am-4pm.

l To support the group visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/welbournvillageschool