Proposals to close a County Durham primary school that has the lowest number of pupils in the region will be considered next week.

The fate of Forest of Teesdale Primary School - which has just one student across all its year groups - will be mulled over by Durham County Council’s cabinet after a consultation and public notice both backed plans to close the educational facility.

The school, in the small rural community of Forest-in-Teesdale, near Barnard Castle, currently has just one child registered and there are no anticipated developments in the area that would increase numbers, according to council officials.

Although the most recent Ofsted inspection in 2018 judged the school to be ‘Good’, it also identified many weaknesses. The council has highlighted that the closure would be part of its “duty to secure good outcomes for all children and young people”.

This isn’t the first time that Forest of Teesdale Primary School has been threatened with closure - it was proposed that the school would be disbanded in 2016 when it had eight pupils, which prompted several public meetings.

On that occasion, the school was saved after it was decided that a collaboration with three other small primary schools in the upper dales, leading to the creation of the Upper Durham Dales Federation, would be the best way to move forward.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Forest of Teesdale Primary School. Picture: NORTHERN ECHOForest of Teesdale Primary School. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

However, with no further pupils having been enrolled at Forest of Teesdale Primary School, a fresh decision will now be made on its future.

Cllr Ted Henderson, the cabinet member for children and young people’s services at Durham County Council, has backed the proposal for closure and has highlighted why he believes it should shut.

He said: “We are committed to securing good outcomes for all our children and young people here in County Durham.

“We believe that the proposal to close Forest of Teesdale Primary School is in the best interests of all involved.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Children campaign for the school to be saved back in 2016. Picture: NORTHERN ECHOChildren campaign for the school to be saved back in 2016. Picture: NORTHERN ECHO

“Educating children in a larger school will allow for more social interaction and a broader curriculum, which will help to improve educational outcomes for all and have a positive impact on students, staff and the wider community.

“It will also help to ensure our schools are sustainable and able to meet the challenges of a changing educational environment.”

A six-week consultation, which was carried out by Durham County Council in February this year, found that three-quarters of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with proposals to close the school.

This was followed by a statutory notice being published on May 5, 2022, which received no responses.

If approved by the cabinet, the Forest of Teesdale Primary School will close on August 31, 2022.