The University’s expansion has been blamed for a fall in the student numbers at a local primary school.
The retiring Head teacher of Derwent School, Carol Torode, has said that the continuing expansion of the University has seen the pupil numbers fall from 300, when she started 22 years ago, to just 100 today.
She said, “Family homes are being bought up by landlords to let to students at the University of York. While I have been here the numbers have just dropped and dropped and dropped; there has been a steady decline in pupil numbers. It is a tragedy because this is a fantastic school with a fantastic buildings and fantastic facilities and the pupils are so brilliant – I am so proud of them.”
This comes just as consultation has begun regarding merging Derwent Schools with nearby primary school in Osbaldwick.
City of York Council has already imposed restrictions to student housing in April this year. Targeting “studentified” areas such as Tang Hall, Badger Hill and Fulford, the new directive makes applications from landlords for Houses in Multiple Occupancy more difficult to pass.
It was announced last July that York’s smallest secondary school, Burnholme Community College, will be forced to close in 2014 due to insufficient student numbers.
Torode does not cite this trend as reason for her retirement however. She said, “There have been fundamental changes in the years I have been teaching, but I’m now seeing children that I taught years ago who have now become parents bringing their children here and even grandparents and that’s when you know it’s time to go.”
In response to the claims made by Mrs Torode, a spokesperson from the University said, “City of York Council is best placed to explain why Derwent Primary School is being taken over by Osbaldwick Primary School.
“However, it seems unlikely that this decision is related to the number of students living in the area. The primary schools closest to the University campus – such as Badger Hill and Lord Deramore’s – are all thriving, and include many children of staff and students at the University.”