CHESHIRE education chiefs have confirmed they are to shut down Gorsthills primary school.
The county council's executive met on Thursday to rubber-stamp the proposal to close the Great Sutton school next summer.
As expected, members gave their backing to the recommendation made at full council last month, which saw Conservative county councillors vote in favour of closure and record a 26-24 victory over the opposition.
However, despite the county appearing to have sealed the fate of the 35-year-old school, defiant
campaigners insist the battle is not over.
Council leader Paul Findlow said: 'The school has a very high level of surplus places and only a small proportion of children in the catchment area choose to attend.
'Its capacity has been reduced three times and there are alternative schools within a one-mile radius.'
Children's services executive member David Rowlands said: 'We have weighed up the situation very carefully, and thought and discussed long and hard before reaching this decision.
'In the longer term I strongly believe it is the best decision to take in the interests of all youngsters in the area.'
A six-week period for objections will now come into force when formal notices proposing Gorsthills' closure are published in September.
It is anticipated that hundreds of parents will oppose the plans resulting in the matter being referred to the independent school organisation committee.
Leading campaigner Ian Finlay said: 'The decision was to be expected but the matter is no longer in the hands of the councillors.
'I'm very optimistic that when this goes to the school organisation committee they will not reach a unanimous decision.
'It will then go to an independent government adjudicator who, looking at the facts with a balanced view, should decide to keep Gorsthills open.'
Two weeks ago more than a thousand campaigners staged an emotional demonstration at the school.
Parents, children and members of the community mounted a remarkable show of strength by joining hands in a circle of hope around the school grounds before releasing 128 balloons into the sky to symbolise each pupil affected by the closure plan.
* The executive council also approved the amalgamation of Woodlands Infant and Junior schools and gave its support to the Shrewsbury Diocese for the amalgamation of Our Lady's Catholic Infant and Junior.
Both amalgamations, creating new primary schools, could take place in September 2007.