Final decision to be made on future of Ampfield Church of England Primary School, Romsey

Hampshire County Council is to recommend the closure of Ampfield Church of England Primary School in Romsey, with effect from 31 August 2024

Mar 18 2024

The recommendation follows an informal five-week public consultation in autumn 2023 and, most recently, a five-week statutory consultation which closed on Friday, 1 March. This consultation process was formally 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 future sustainability. 

A report outlining the responses to the statutory consultation and recommending the school’s closure will be considered by the Cabinet Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Edward Heron, on Tuesday, 26 March.

The recommendation to close the school reflects a range of challenges resulting from the school’s consistently low intake of new pupils in recent years. In February 2024, the school had only 20 pupils on its roll with forecasts showing a further decline in future numbers. Given the small number of children attending the school, pupils 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.

The school has been supported with these challenges by the County Council’s School Improvement Service and in 2013 entered a federation with John Keble Church of England Primary School, which means that both schools share one governing body and leadership team but are funded separately. Despite these efforts, the school’s future is considered unsustainable in a continued climate of low pupil numbers and the many associated complex challenges this presents. 

If the recommendation to close the school is approved, children could be relocated, if their parents so wished, 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 School Admissions team. School transport may be provided in this instance, in line with the County Council’s policy.

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

The report and recommendation to close the school can be found on the County Council's website.