A HAMPSHIRE village school with fewer than 30 pupils could close by the next academic year, a public meeting heard.

The future of Ampfield Church of England Primary School was discussed on Monday, October 9 after Hampshire County Council launched a public consultation. 

The school has seen a consistently low intake of new pupils in recent years and, as of September, had just 26 pupils enrolled. 

The meeting heard that it's predicted they will lose another six pupils in the next academic year, meaning they would have just 20. 

The school has been in this position before when, in 2005, it federated with John Keble Church of England Primary School in Hursley.

Despite this, pupil numbers have been rapidly declining. Currently, just two children from Ampfield attend the school, with others travelling from further afield.

READ MORE: Ampfield Church of England Primary School could be closing

The audience of about 15 people mainly consisted of local residents and staff, with no parents in attendance. 

The meeting heard that the final decision will be made on March 14 and that if the school closes it would be on August 31.

Mark Saunders, senior strategic development officer, said: “The number of children in Ampfield school at the moment is 26. Two of those children are from Ampfield. A large cohort of children will be leaving at the end of this academic year, nine. We are forecasting about three children coming in, so there will be a net loss of six children. So there might be about 20 children here on September 1 2024. 

“There are challenges, with members of staff teaching very small numbers of children over a range of ages.

“We're not talking about thrusting those children into a large setting. There is an opportunity for them to join John Keble which has quite a small number of children.”

Amber Vidler, executive headteacher, said: “The problem with falling numbers is that we have a smaller number of staff here. So all of our children who need that extra help don't always get it. We're down to four members of staff which is really difficult.”

One suggestion was for the building to be used as a provision for SEN pupils. Cllr Alan Dowden said: "Maybe you could extend the life of this building with a nursery for younger children and those with special needs as well."

The public consultation will run until Friday, November 3.

For more information including FAQs, and for details on how to respond to the consultation, visit hants.gov.uk/aboutthecouncil/haveyoursay/consultations/ampfield-primary-school.