School merger is agreed amidst anger from parents
A MERGER between St Sampson’s infant and junior schools in Cricklade has been provisionally agreed by Wiltshire Council.
The decision, made on Monday this week, comes at the same time as an avalanche of opposition from parents concerned that the junior school has recently been criticised by Ofsted.
However, unless any Wiltshire councillor calls in the decision by Monday, May 5, the two neighbouring schools will merge into one primary school on September 1.
Phil Scott, chairman of governors at St Sampson’s Junior School, said: “The new school will be a school that will ensure standards in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are as high as one another.”
He said the report was due to the Year 6 pupils who left last year and whose average SAT results had been below the national average. That was a knock-on effect of the poor education they had received from the infant school.
A letter to parents from junior school headteacher Jennifer Bayne said she was proud of last year’s Year 6 pupils, but “as a cohort we were aware they would not achieve attainment in line with the national average”.
She said because of this, the school and staff were deemed to require improvement.
Concerned parents voiced reservations about the merger.
The Ofsted report, published this week, said the junior school “required improvement” and that the standards of teaching and achievement of pupils were below standard.
Sarah Tuner, whose child is in Year 5 at the junior school, said: “I am amazed this amalgamation is still likely to go ahead.”
She hit back at claims last year’s school leavers were to blame.
“My eldest child was in Year 6 last year and if they didn’t reach the national average, the only ones to blame are the teachers who had taught these children from Year 3.”
After failing an Ofsted report last year the government told the infant’s school that it would have to close, become an Academy school or merge with the junior school.
Following public consultation the merger was preferred and passed to Wiltshire Council for a decision earlier this month.
A spokeman for Wiltshire Council said: "Parents and the local community were consulted about the proposals to expand the junior school and close the infant school and feedback was positive, and there were no objections received to the statutory proposal. The changes are also supported by the Department for Education and the Diocese of Bristol and are viewed as helping to secure the future of primary education in the local area.
"Along with the Diocese we will continue to support both schools through the changes and help them work towards a successful launch of the primary school in September."
The spokesperson explained the merger was given the green light after considering that there were no objections to the proposal, the guidance contained in the DfE document 'Guidance for Decision Makers', and the Ofsted report for St Sampson’s CE Junior School published 22 April 2014.
View the junior school Ofsted report by clicking on the link http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/126317
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