CIVIC chiefs have agreed the next stage in the process of Ampfield Primary School's likely closure. 

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

It would shut its doors on August 31, meaning this would be the last academic year.

A five-week informal consultation was held last year, with Cllr Edward Heron, county council executive lead member for children’s services, approved a statutory consultation. 

A public notice will be published from Friday, January 26 allowing five weeks for parents, staff, the local community, and others with an interest in the school to respond to the proposal.

READ MORE: Caroline Nokes reacts to plan to close Ampfield Primary School

At the decision day on Friday, January 19, Cllr Heron said: “The decision to proceed to a statutory consultation is understandably a very difficult one and has not been made lightly. I have fully reviewed the feedback from the initial informal consultation and have considered at length, the school’s current challenges in terms of its low pupil numbers, and the associated impacts on its quality of educational provision and leadership. While regrettable, on balance I believe that a statutory consultation is now necessary to ensure that the final decision made is fully informed and the right one for the children and families concerned.

“I strongly encourage the school community to have their say and take part in the upcoming consultation. All feedback will be thoroughly considered ahead of any final decision.”

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 in from further afield.

The pupils currently on roll could be relocated to John Keble Church of England Primary School.

Alternatively, parents could apply in the usual way for places at other local schools, with support from the county council’s schools admissions team.

In the county council's report, it said: “It was concluded that the low number of families living in catchment and the low number of families making a preference for the school mean that concerns around the provision of education and the national curriculum would not be solved by conversion to an academy. It is also highly unlikely that a sponsor could be found due to the low pupil numbers and financial position of the school.”