Parents and governors have lost their fight to save their children's school.

Yesterday parents with children at Fishersgate First School were told the school would close for good.

West Sussex County Council has decided to merge the school with Manor Hall Infant School in Southwick as part of a large reorganisation of primary schools in Adur.

The reorganisation will get rid of old fashioned first and middle schools where pupils move up to secondary school aged 12 and create all-through primary schools where pupils move to senior school at 11.

Sally Willson, the chairwoman of governors at Fishersgate, said: "Parents are absolutely devastated. This is a very good school with expert staff right in the heart of the community. It is the only public building in Fishersgate that provides a community facility."

She said parents were sceptical of plans to transform the school building in Gardner Road into a children's centre.

She said: "Currently we have a free nursery at the school. We don't know what kind of provision we will have with the new centre but we've been told parents will have to pay."

Mark Dunn, the Cabinet member for children's services at West Sussex, said: "The number of children attending Fishersgate First School has been declining, with just 74 children on the roll in January when there are 135 places available. The school has also received just eight first preference applications for places from September.

"Decisions that involve closing a school are always difficult. I hope everyone connected with Fishersgate will accept this reorganisation has just one aim - a first class education system for Adur that will benefit children now and future generations."

The reorganisation includes £15 million to improve buildings and facilities.

Statutory notices for the merger will now be posted and the independent Schools Organisation Committee will make a final decision on the proposals in September. If approved, the changes would take effect in September 2008.