Flash CE Primary School set to close after classrooms are left empty
A RURAL school which now has no pupils is facing closure at the end of this year.
It comes after the last remaining children at Flash CE Primary School, near Leek, moved on to other schools, leaving classrooms empty.
A rescue plan to save the tiny primary was drawn up last year after it was placed under threat when numbers dwindled to seven youngsters.
At the time, Staffordshire County Council gave Flash a reprieve so it could federate with nearby St Bartholomew's CE Primary, in Longnor, and children could share some of their lessons.
But the local authority today launched a formal consultation on shutting the school at the end of December. Its catchment area would be swallowed up by Blackshaw Moor CE First School.
Sue Evans, executive headteacher of Flash and St Bartholomew's, said: "It's really a sad decision to have to make. But a school with no pupils simply is unviable.
"We did our best with the federation, and things seemed to be working well, but parents obviously feel their children would be better served at other schools. After having long talks with the governors and the diocese, who are all in agreement, closure is now the only option."
Colin Farnworth, from Quarnford, fought to save the school last year.
The 56-year-old former school governor said: "My children all went there and have all done well.
"But each battle to keep the school has become more difficult to win. Everything that could have been done to maintain Flash School has been done.
"It's expensive to live in rural areas and so they are not attracting young people."
The council claims only one child has been born in the school's catchment area in the last 10 years.
Councillor Ian Parry, cabinet member for education, finance and transformation, said: "We postponed the closure in 2011 to help the school form a federation, but parents have gradually found alternative places.
"We can't justify the cost of keeping an empty school open."
Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley today expressed her disappointment.
She said: "I know how hard we all fought to keep the school open. It's such a shame."
The council's cabinet will make the final decision on December 19.