Statutory consultation to go ahead on proposed closure of Ampfield C of E Primary School, Romsey

Hampshire County Council will open a statutory consultation on Friday, 26 January 2024 on the proposed closure of Ampfield Church of England Primary School in Romsey from 31 August 2024. Councillor Edward Heron, Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, approved the decision to formally consult on the school’s proposed closure at his Decision Day on Friday, 19 January

Jan 19 2024

The decision follows an informal five-week public consultation in autumn 2023 which gathered initial feedback on the potential closure of the school. This was requested by the school’s governing body in agreement with the Diocese of Winchester, following concerns about the school’s low pupil numbers and the implications for its long-term sustainability. 

Councillor Heron commented: “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.”

Following the decision to formally consult on the closure of the school, a public notice will be published from Friday, 26 January 2024 allowing five weeks for parents, staff, the local community, and others with an interest in the school to feed back on the proposal.

The proposal to close the school follows a mix of challenges resulting from the school’s consistently low intake of new pupils in recent years. In September 2023, the school had only 26 pupils on its roll. Given this small number, children from a wide age range are taught together and this in turn impacts on the school’s delivery of the National Curriculum, which requires children to be taught specific sequences of knowledge according to their age.

As school budgets are primarily based on the number of pupils on roll, the school has also experienced growing pressure on its finances. Additionally, low pupil numbers impact on the school’s leadership and workload management as well as limiting the opportunities for children to socialise with peers in their own age group.

If it is finally agreed that the school should close, this would be effective from 31 August 2024. In this situation, the children currently on roll could be relocated, if their parents so wished, to John Keble Church of England Primary School which is currently federated with Ampfield Church of England Primary School. This means that both schools are led by the same headteacher under one governing body but are funded separately. Alternatively, parents could apply in the usual way for places at other local schools, with support from the County Council’s Schools Admissions team.

Staff would also be closely supported by the Local Authority in line with the standard processes.

The public notice advertising the consultation on the proposed closure of the school will be published on Hampshire County Council’s website on Friday, 26 January 2024. Anyone wishing to take part in the consultation will have five weeks from this date to provide their feedback. 

For full details, visit the County Council's website.