OXFORDSHIRE’S smallest primary school has unofficially shut its doors, and it looks likely that it will not reopen.

Plans were revealed in June to close 37-pupil Culham Parochial CE Primary School near Abingdon, and merge it with Clifton Hampden CE Primary School almost three miles away.

Consultation was carried out and a final decision is not due until November, but this term the building stands empty, with pupils transferred to Clifton Hampden.

Oxfordshire County Council, which runs the school, insists this does not constitute a closure just yet.

READ AGAIN: Closure proposal at Culham Parochial CE Primary School

A council spokesperson said: "Families were told in June that children would be moved to the Clifton Hampden site for September, until a final decision is taken on the future of the school.

"The building is not currently being used for the school, but this does not mean the school is closed - the closure of a school requires a legal process, including full consultation and the county council’s formal decision."

The school opened in 1850 and is part of the Thames Bridge Church of England Federation, which also oversees Clifton Hampden school.

Families were invited to buy new Clifton Hampden uniforms, although children are still allowed to wear their Culham uniforms if they prefer, and a bus has been provided to transport children between the two.

Madeleine Webster, whose seven-year-old granddaughter attends Culham, said: “It was all very sudden at the end of term - we should have had a lot more notice. It happened very quickly.

“We were told it’s not closing, it’s still under consultation, but there are no lessons there and no teachers - it’s closed. If they’re saying it isn’t closed, I don’t know how."

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Following consultation, the council confirmed a formal proposal to merge the schools will be published on its website on September 16.

There will then be a four-week period for people to submit their opinions, and responses will be reported to the council's cabinet.

The cabinet is due to decide on the merger at their meeting on November 19.

If approved, the council said Culham Parochial CE Primary School will legally close at some point between Easter and the end of the academic year.

All families who want a place at Clifton Hampden will be offered a place, but some families are expected to choose different schools closer to home.

The two schools have already moved all operations onto the Clifton Hampden site, so closure would formalise the current arrangement and make it permanent.

The school was at risk of closure in 2010, but the council scrapped the proposal after a hard-fought campaign from the community.

There has been little resistance so far this time, however.

READ AGAIN: Parents fight to keep Culham primary school open

Mrs Webster said: "There wasn’t a lot of fight. The way it was presented to parents was that it’s a done deal - it’s very sad.

“[My granddaughter] didn’t want to leave, the children there have a lot of pride in their school. It’s been very disruptive for the little ones.

“There has been quite a lot of turmoil in the school."

She said the bus failed to turn up on Thursday and on Tuesday, which 'upset' some of the pupils.

Mrs Webster said: “It’s bad enough for secondary pupils, but when you’ve got children who are five-years-old left stranded, it’s distressing."

The county council spokesperson admitted there had been a couple of issues with the bus arriving late, adding: "This is very regrettable, and we will be working with the bus company to ensure this does not happen again."

Regarding the school building itself, which is owned by a church trust, the spokesperson added: "The future use of the site and buildings will be a matter for local discussion, independent of the proposal to legally close the school."