Parents narrowly back merger of Felixstowe schools

Lucy Thompson said it was important to get community feedback on the merger of two Felixstowe schools

Lucy Thompson said it was important to get community feedback on the merger of two Felixstowe schools - Credit: Seckford Education Trust

Parents have given their backing to the merger of two schools in Felixstowe. 

Plans are currently being looked at to merge SET Maidstone, an infant school for pupils aged 3 to 7, and SET Causton, currently a junior school for ages 7 to 11, to create an all-through primary from next September. 

Both schools are currently run by the Seckford Education Trust, which sent out a consultation on the plans earlier this year which would see SET Maidstone close and all pupils would join SET Causton.

The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Unit at SET Maidstone would also be relocated to SET Causton.

An online survey received almost 100 responses with 53% of responses in favour of the proposed merger going ahead.

Of the SET Maidstone parents and carers who submitted an online response, 57% were in favour of the proposed merger.

They felt that the merger would provide more opportunities for SET Maidstone students and remove the need for unnecessary transition.

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The schools are less than 350 metres from each other on Maidstone Road in Felixstowe and were originally built to accommodate much larger pupil numbers than they have now.

They are also already managed together as one school by head of school, Lucy Thompson.

Mrs Thompson, said: “It was very important to us that we got feedback from the whole community, as so many different people are involved in the lives of our children – from parents and carers to after-school clubs and young people’s charities.

“We are grateful for their positive response to the merger, not just via the online survey but during conservations I had in person or over zoom sessions too. It gave us the opportunity to really listen to their questions and any concerns but we’re confident that they have been addressed robustly”.

Concerns were raised, however, about a number of areas within the plans including how the merged school would deal with extra traffic, how the Special Education Unit at Maidstone would be supported and how the "small school feel" would be maintained. 

SET felt confident it can address these questions has therefore decided to proceed with its application to the Regional Schools Commissioner for the proposed merger.