Consultation on The Future of Ampfield Church of England Primary School, Knapp Lane, Ampfield

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Hampshire County Council is consulting on the future of Ampfield Church of England Primary School

The full governing body of the Ampfield CE Primary School and John Keble CE Primary School Federation, the Local Authority and the Diocese of Winchester met to discuss the education outcomes for children and the future financial viability of Ampfield CE Primary School. As a result of this meeting the Governing Body wrote to the Local Authority seeking their support for a consultation to be held with the local community on the potential closure of Ampfield CE Primary School.

Reason for proposal

The Director of Children’s Services, in discussion with the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, has approved a period of public consultation on the proposed closure of Ampfield CE Primary School from 31 August 2024. Where a Local Authority proposes to make significant changes to a school, including closure, it must follow relevant guidelines as set out by the Department for Education. This information and some additional Frequently Asked Questions are available here:

Frequently asked questions

Contextual Information

Ampfield CE Primary School is an 84-place primary school for pupils aged 4-11 (12 children per year group). It is federated with John Keble CE Primary School located in the village of Hursley approximately two miles away. The school had 26 pupils on roll in September 2023, 2 of whom live in the Ampfield catchment area. Ofsted judged the school to be Good following a visit in June 2018 and it is anticipated that the school will be inspected again before July 2024.

The new National Curriculum is a knowledge based curriculum in which children are taught sequences of knowledge, which can present some challenges.  There is concern from governors that the school will be unable to sustain the quality of this delivery to groups of children across a considerable age range, resulting in an unsatisfactory Ofsted judgement. This view is shared by the Local Authority and the Diocese. All parties are committed to ensuring that children in Hampshire receive the very best education and teachers at the school will continue to work hard to provide this. While teaching the national curriculum in mixed age classes is not unusual, teaching across more than one key stage, or across 3 or 4 year groups is complex and challenging. This is made more difficult in that each teacher “stands alone” as they have no year group or even key stage partner with whom to work.

John Keble CE Primary School is rated as Good by Ofsted following a short inspection in October 2017. This reinforced the previous Ofsted judgement of Good in June 2013. John Keble CE Primary School is currently supported by the Local Authority and are expected to achieve a good judgement when next inspected by Ofsted.

A reduction in the birth rate nationally over recent years together with the slowing down of house building in some areas has led to falling school rolls. Ampfield CE Primary School has one of the lowest numbers on roll in the county and has had a consistently low intake in recent years. As school revenue budgets are directly aligned with numbers on roll, that puts significant pressure on the school’s finances. A school with such significant surplus places is not sustainable financially and cannot continue to provide the breadth of curriculum required by pupils.

The table below shows how the numbers in the school have changed over the past three years, with the total number on roll reducing as the larger cohorts leave the school.

   2020/21 2021/22 2022/23 September 2023
YR 7 2 2 3
Y1 1 12 2 3
Y2 5 2 8 1
Y3 4 5 2 6
Y4 6 8 5 2
Y5 4 6 11 2
Y6 10 5 7 9
Total 37 40 37 26

The pupil forecast for Ampfield shows a continued fall in pupil numbers based on the historic trend of recruitment for reception year pupils. The forecast suggests that there are a maximum of six pupils living in the catchment of the school over the next 5 years and not all parents living in catchment are choosing to send their child to the school.

The Consultation

The purpose of this consultation is to seek the view of all stakeholders on the proposed closure of Ampfield CE Primary School from August 31 2024. The decision-making process is outlined below:

  • This initial consultation will run from Friday 29 September 2023 until Friday 3 November 2023, including two public meetings, detailed below.
  • A report setting-out the consultation responses received will be taken to the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services in January 2024 to decide if the proposal should continue to the formal statutory consultation stage.
  • If approved, a statutory Public Notice would be published for a period of four weeks during which representations can be made to the Local Authority.
  • If, at this stage, a decision is taken to proceed with the closure, a report would be taken to the Executive Lead Member for Children's Services for final approval.

How to take part in the consultation

A public meeting has been arranged and will provide an opportunity for parents/carers/stakeholders to raise their views directly with council officers.

The meetings are to be held:

  • 09 October between 7-8.30pm at Ampfield Church of England Primary School
  • 10 October between 7-8.30pm at John Keble Church of England Primary School

You will also be able to provide feedback via the online survey.

If you would like to speak to an Officer, please make that request by email to [email protected] briefly outlining your query so we can arrange a mutually convenient time for you to speak to an appropriate officer either via conference call or telephone.

If you are unable to email or visit the above website and wish to make a comment, please write to Mark Saunders, Senior Strategic Development Officer, Children’s Services Department, EII Court North, Winchester, Hampshire SO23 8UG by Friday 3 November 2023.

We thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your comments. Your response will be carefully considered as part of the consultation.

Further Information

The data you provide as part of your consultation response will be treated in accordance with UK Data Protection Legislation, and may be used as part of aggregated information published in a decision report. Any personal data provided will be removed before any publication. Your data will be retained in line with the County Council’s retention strategy. The legal basis for our use of this information is the compliance with our ‘public task’ duty. You have some legal rights in respect of the personal information we collect from you. Please see the supporting details for further information. You can contact the County Council’s Data Protection Officer at [email protected], if you have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal data. You should raise your concern with us in the first instance or directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office.