REPORTS of another rural closure, another public service disappearing, another community facility folding have become depressingly regular in recent years.

So news that a new national funding formula for schools will enable all three federated primary schools in Wensleydale to stay open is welcome. Not just welcome - surprising.

Consultations on how best to close your health service/bank/bus service/court are becoming a tired cliché. People are wise to the fact that when an organisation promises a consultation before they get rid of anything, there’s a fair chance they will be presented with an array of options they don’t want and asked to choose the least offensive.

It looked the same for Askrigg, Bainbridge and West Burton Primary Schools, with an expected deficit of £95,000 expected by the end of next month, it looked as if one of the primaries would close.

But this hasn’t happened. While the primaries, like all schools, will have to implement some tough money-saving choices, the three schools are almost certain to remain open.

It seems this is due to the fact that pretty much everybody with a say in the matter did their utmost to use it.

The education authority, North Yorkshire County Council said it was committed to keeping village schools open as they play a “crucial role” in their communities and the schools had worked hard to ensure children were educated locally in high quality settings.

MP Rishi Sunak campaigned with other rural MPs to get a better funding deal for rural schools and launched a petition which was presented with several pupils and headteacher Charlotte Harper at 10 Downing Street.

While the schools and governing bodies themselves worked hard to come up with a solution to a very substantial problem.

At the end of the day it was democracy which altered the course the schools were heading in. It’s worth remembering how powerful that can be.