A SCHOOL is set to close its doors ‘due to unsustainable numbers of pupils’.

Reach South Academy Trust recommended to the Department of Education that Parkfield School, in Christchurch, should close ‘by mutual consent’.

There will be a ‘phased closure’ of the school, with Year 11 continuing in September until July 2025, so the year group can complete courses.

Every other year group will close at the end of this academic year, on July 23 2024.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “It is with great sadness that I am writing with the news that the Reach South Academy Trust Board has written to the Department for Education to inform them of our recommendation that Parkfield School should close, by mutual consent, due to unsustainable numbers of pupils.

“That recommendation has been approved by Ministers in their taking a decision to terminate the school’s supplementary funding agreement, subject to a listening period.

“A final decision by the Department for Education on closing the school will be subject to a listening period and full assurance that all pupils are offered alternative places by the end of this academic year, where required.

“The formal listening period is now open and full details are included below.

“What this means in practice is that on obtaining a final decision from Ministers to close there would be a ‘phased closure’ of the school.

“Year 11 would continue to be open from September 2024 until July 2025 in order that those students can complete the courses they have begun, but with all other year groups coming to a close at the end of this academic year (Tuesday 23 July 2024).”

The trust said that without a ‘natural catchment area’, the school has ‘always faced challenges’ for student numbers on its role.

“Given this is not going to change, it is simply not possible for the school to remain open,” the spokesperson said. “We recognise this will be upsetting news for our school community and are committed to being as open and transparent as possible throughout this process.

“As part of the decision making process there has been a requirement to ensure there is an offer of a new school place for each child.

“The council has been working with local schools to ensure that a suitable place is offered at a school that is rated as at least ‘Good’ by Ofsted and is within a reasonable travelling distance.

“The council has taken account of families where there is more than one child in either primary or secondary school.

“The council will be writing to each family in the week beginning 17 June 2024 to explain the transfer process and advise them of the place that is secured for their child/ren.

“The council’s SEND Team will be liaising with those families whose children have an Education, Health and Care Plan in order to ensure that new school, provision and individual funding is managed effectively.”