THE acting head teacher of a rural primary school facing closure due to falling pupil numbers says the drop off is due to parents choosing towns over villages.

Somerset County Council has announced a consultation will begin on September 1 over the future of Cossington Primary School, at the request of governors.

Pupil numbers have been declining since 2004. The school now has 27 pupils but nine are leaving at the end of the year with only one new reception pupil expected.

Nick Hemmings, the school’s chairman of governors, said: “Cossington Primary is a small village school where children make good progress and we’ve had some of the best SATs results ever this year.

“However, the governors are concerned that as pupil numbers decrease, it becomes more difficult to deliver an enriched curriculum and the activities the children deserve.”

Acting head teacher Giselle Pirie told the Mercury staff and children have worked hard to get great results across the board but she added: “More and more people are choosing to live in towns, rather than small villages, and this is affecting school numbers.

“If we have fewer children, then our budget shrinks and friendship groups within the school become smaller, and it can have a big impact.

“The children come first and we need to ensure they get the best education and experience.”

In 2004, 67 pupils were registered at the school but numbers fell to 47 in September 2012. At the start of the 2013/14 academic year, 41 pupils were registered and in January 2014 numbers had fallen to 34.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, cabinet member for children and families at Somerset County Council, said a consultation on the school’s future will start at the end of the summer holidays and added: “We will release further information about how to participate around this time.”

Many parents have already secured places at nearby primary schools, including Catcott and Puriton.