PUPILS, parents and supporters protested outside St Nicholas School in Chippenham on Tuesday morning as members of Wiltshire Council in Trowbridge voted unanimously to close it and relocate pupils to a new larger school on Rowdeford.

Parents say they are devastated by the news the school off Malmesbury Road, which teaches youngsters with a range of complex needs, profound and multiple learning and physical difficulties and autism spectrum disorders, will close it in 2023.

Alex Green, from Chippenham, whose seven-year-old son Lucas attends the school, said: "I was shocked by the news, and so were all the parents we know. It just seems wrong to take them out of the community where they are currently embedded."

Mother of four-year-old Kyle, Sarah Wall, from Corsham said: "My son does much better in a smaller environment, in a small class, and the travel to Rowde will be a complete nightmare."

Wesley Saye and Rachel Sandford have two sons at the school, Connor, ten, and Dillon, nine. Dad Wesley said: "They are happy. Dillon is terrified of most animals so we were surprised when they took him horse riding and he was doing really well."

Mum Rachels said: "The new place is on a dangerous road, and really tucked away behind the woods. It almost seems like they are trying to hide them."

Emma Ellery, whose son Antonio, aged ten, is a pupil said St Nick's was just ten minutes walk from home for her.

She has another son at next door Hardenhuish School and says the proximity benefits them both.

"One of the reasons Declan choose Hardenhuish was so he would be close to his brother," she said.

Parent Clare Carter, whose daughter Tilly, 11, is a pupil said, the community within the school was important.

""It's a nice small school and we all meet together and all know each other - that's important."