A TOP-rated village school has spare places for September despite parents in nearby towns and villages battling for primary spots.

Witchampton First School currently has just 60 pupils between the ages of four and nine.

Now parents have been urged to consider “commuting” to the school, which is just five miles from the centre of Wimborne where many schools are over- subscribed.

The school has been rated “Outstanding” by government inspectors and provides early years education through the Little Owls Pre School and Nursery for children aged two and above.

Many young families have been forced to leave the area due to high property prices and a lack of jobs.

But the school is not governed by a catchment area so can accept pupils from a wider area.

Head teacher Anne Duncan said: “The local community has experienced a lot of changes this year. The sale of the surrounding estate, increasing rents and a lack of employment opportunities has meant that many young families have had to leave the area.”

Catherine, a parent with two daughters at the school, is from a village near Blandford, seven miles away. She said: “This is an amazing school and definitely worth the commute. With such experienced teachers and small class sizes my daughters get a lot of individual attention and best of all we feel like we have joined the community as well as the school.”

Anyone who wants information about the school should call Anne Duncan on 01258 840684 or Jazmine Walker at Little Owls on 01258 840042.