This follows an informal four-week public consultation in winter 2023 which gathered initial feedback on the proposal to amalgamate the two schools. This consultation was undertaken at the request of both schools’ governing bodies which have raised growing concerns about low pupil numbers and the associated impacts on the schools’ respective finances, educational standards, and ongoing viability.
With proposals of this nature, the County Council holds an informal public consultation to listen to the local community’s views and then, subject to the outcome of that, will seek permission to begin a further period of statutory public consultation. A recommendation to now proceed to a formal, statutory consultation will be presented to Councillor Heron, alongside feedback from the initial round of consultation, at his upcoming Decision Day on Tuesday, 20 February.
Both schools have seen falling pupil numbers in recent years, resulting in significant budget pressures. The proposal to amalgamate the two schools could provide a stronger financial position, staffing structure and settled pupil numbers. It could also bring greater continuity in terms of how the curriculum is delivered and a more consistent approach to children’s learning, while removing the need for transition between Year 2 in the infant school to Year 3 in the junior school.
The amalgamation, if finally agreed, would be achieved by closing the infant school and extending the age range of the junior school to become a primary school with a nursery unit, catering for children aged three to 11 years. This would accommodate one class of 30 pupils per year group and would operate under one governing body.
Should a decision be taken to hold a formal consultation, a public notice would be published on the County Council’s website allowing parents, the local community and others with an interest in the schools to give their views on the proposal. The County Council would write directly to parents and school staff to confirm details of the consultation.
Should a final decision be made to merge the two schools, this would come into effect on 1 January 2025. The school would continue to offer 30 places for children entering Reception Year.
Full details of the recommendation to formally consult can be found on the County Council's website.