THE future of a closure-threatened primary school continues to look uncertain after county council bosses said new proposals to save it are not viable.

Essex County Council has held meetings with staff and pupils’ parents following from last year’s consultation on the future of St Mary’s Primary School in Woodham Ferrers.

A consultation was carried out between October and November, after which the council agreed to ‘pause’ the proposed closure and undertook a review of the additional information put forward during the consultation.

Options put forward included the possibility of pupils being schooled partly at home, sponsorship from a multi-academy trust, or joining a ‘federation’ with another school.

Education bosses now say those options are not viable.

A council spokesman said: “This week, staff and parents have been informed that while these alternative options have been fully considered and evaluated, to date most of them have not proven viable options in terms of sustaining the future of the school.

“However, discussions are ongoing regarding the potential for St Mary’s to join an existing multi-academy trust.

“Essex County Council officers have therefore recommended, at this stage, that proposals for closure remain in place but under review until the outcome of the discussions with the academy trust are completed and pupil numbers for September are reviewed.

“If closure of the school is confirmed in September, the school would close on August 31, 2020, with pupils currently on the roll having a place made available at Collingwood Primary School in South Woodham Ferrers from September 2020.

“Transport would be provided from St Mary’s to Collingwood in the morning and afternoon each day.

“Parents would also have the option of applying for alternative schools and these requests will be considered in line with those individual schools’ admissions policy and current number on roll. Support in applying for an alternative school place will be available for those who require it.”

Proposals were put forward due to persistently low numbers of pupils attending St Mar’s, with indications that the number will drop even further over the coming years, increasing the financial pressure the school is already under.

A formal decision will be made in September.