Schools investigate amalgamation

A PAIR of schools in Nailsea could be amalgamated to create a new primary school.

Following the announcement that Robert Bailey plans to retire from his position as headteacher at Grove Junior School in March 2012, work has begun to investigate how the school can work more closely with the neighbouring Hannah More Infants School.

The schools share the same site in Whiteoak Way but are currently operated separately, with their own governing bodies.

However, a working party has been set up with members of both governing bodies taking part in regular discussions on whether to make any changes and what these could be.

The options being discussed include amalgamating the two schools into one primary school, catering for children from reception through to year six, or creating a federation, which would see each school retain their separate identities, budgets and Ofsted inspections but they would work together strategically and only have one governing body.

A collaboration would see the schools formally work together on specific issues, with a group comprised of members of both governing bodies created to look at these. The schools could also decide to just build further partnerships with other schools in the area or to not make any changes at all.

Grove Junior School’s chairman of governors Louise Dumbell said: “Making the right decision is crucial. It affects the education of the children on a day-to-day basis.

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“If we have got the right staff and they are happy and content then that will have an impact on how they are in the classroom.”

The governing bodies of each school are due to decide on their preferred option near to the end of July - the end of the current term.

In the meantime, a letter has been sent home to parents.

If the schools decided to move for an amalgamation or federation, a formal consultation process will begin in September and any changes are planned to take place at the time of Mr Bailey’s retirement.

Mrs Dumbell added: “It will be a seamless transition. We are all very keen that the parents know what is going on and the children do not suffer.”