A CRICKLADE school which has been ordered to close by the government after failing an Ofsted inspection is asking the community for its views on plans that will allow it to continue.
A public consultation is being held on a decision to close St Sampson’s Infant School on Bath Road and merge it with the adjacent St Sampson's CE Junior School after it was condemned by Ofsted in July.
After being judged as inadequate, government expectation for infant schools is that they close and become academy schools – meaning they are independently run and free from local authority control.
But following talks with infant school governors’, the DFE gave special permission for the union, which would keep many things like uniform and curriculum at St Samson's Infant School the same.
Hema Jain-Brar, whose son Arjun is a reception class pupil at the infant school, said: “It is the best thing to do and the best thing for the school because legally the school can’t continue as it is.
“Things like the uniform will stay the same, the logo might change at the top of the newsletter but apart from that the change will be manageable. My son has really settled in at the school in a short space of time and I think changing to an academy would be disruptive for him and other pupils.
“No one can tell what the future will bring, but personally as a parent of a child who attends I think it is the best thing.”
Under the proposals the infant school would become the responsibility of junior school head teacher Jennifer Bayne and the age range of the junior school would be extended to accommodate ages four to 11.
As part of the consultation, meetings have been arranged with parents and staff of both schools and a questionnaire asking people’s views is being distributed.
Governors’ at the infant school were granted permission by the DFE to put forward the merger proposal after deeming that academy status would break a relationship the school has with the community.
Angela Jenson who is vice chairman of governors at St Sampson’s Infants School said: “We call it a local solution not an imposed one. This is the best option out of the options we have and it keeps in the community. The key thing about changing to an academy is that it could be run by an academy far away and we would have less control over things.”
A similar proposal by governors’ of the infants school was scrapped in early 2012 after a massive backlash from parents’ and teachers from the school.
The plans were made after Ofsted inspectors said the school was underachieving.
This time around the consultation differs because the DFE have given an ultimatum to the infant school to either close or become an academy.
The consultation runs until February 21.
For information visit www.st-sampsons-jun.wilts.sch.uk Does you child go to either of the schools? Do you think the merger is a good idea? Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org