School merger is agreed amidst anger from parents

St Sampson's schools are set to merge

St Sampson's schools are set to merge

First published in News
Last updated
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Brendan McFadden
Wilts and Glos Standard by , Reporter

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

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:34pm Fri 2 May 14

monkeyfeet800 says...

I do believe that parents only supported the decision to merge on the basis that the junior school was classed as 'good'. The only other option proposed was a forced academy, so it wasn't much of as choice in the first place.

The junior school are now not good which was not communicated to all parties (the infant school parents and those joining the school in September) and now the decision to continue is being made to carry out, assuming before parents have a chance to consider this significant change in circumstances.

As for the comments from the junior chair, how appalling! I would of thought that if the juniors were so good they would have been able to deal with any issues in four years of having children? I assume parents in that year were told of the concerns and what was being done? Or has this only just been mentioned as a defensive measure? After all, there are other reasons in the Ofsted report as to why they require improvement......

Children's education is important and such a merger when there are issues in both schools is surely a recipe for disaster?
I do believe that parents only supported the decision to merge on the basis that the junior school was classed as 'good'. The only other option proposed was a forced academy, so it wasn't much of as choice in the first place. The junior school are now not good which was not communicated to all parties (the infant school parents and those joining the school in September) and now the decision to continue is being made to carry out, assuming before parents have a chance to consider this significant change in circumstances. As for the comments from the junior chair, how appalling! I would of thought that if the juniors were so good they would have been able to deal with any issues in four years of having children? I assume parents in that year were told of the concerns and what was being done? Or has this only just been mentioned as a defensive measure? After all, there are other reasons in the Ofsted report as to why they require improvement...... Children's education is important and such a merger when there are issues in both schools is surely a recipe for disaster? monkeyfeet800
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Fri 2 May 14

flower2002 says...

For the chair of governors to blame the infant school for the juniors year 6 results is particularly low.
For the chair of governors to blame the infant school for the juniors year 6 results is particularly low. flower2002
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree