Five years ago, Tuturumuri School in Wairarapa had 22 students. Today, it has none.
In fact it has had no students all term. But the school is determined to remain open.
Board of Trustees chairman Mike Firth said student numbers dropped as farm owners aged, as forestry replaced farms that employed people, and as parents took children to Martinborough where they work.
Instead of accepting its seemingly inevitable fate, the school is battling on thanks to a healthy savings account.
It will pay its three staff for the first term of next year on the chance of students enrolling.
If students do not enrol, another option is to buy a bus to transport students from Martinborough.
Any students enrolling will enjoy the highest staff-to-student ratio in the country, a heated indoor swimming pool and the best in technology.
Teacher aide Charmaine Potter said small schools were often superior.
"I have had the beauty of seeing what a lot of one-on-one teaching can have on the children and the classroom, especially when they can get lost in some of the bigger schools," she said.
"It is kind of nice when you are in a little school with a small amount of students and you can actually spend that time helping them and watching them grow and learn."
Teacher Renita Persico said resources were now highly organised but there was no upside to having no students to reach.
Should the school be forced to close, any children moving into the area could face an hour's drive to school in Martinborough.
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