Merger for Felixstowe infant and junior schools given approval

Head of school Lucy Thompson with SET Maidstone and Causton pupils in Felixstowe

Head of school Lucy Thompson with SET Maidstone and Causton pupils in Felixstowe - Credit: Seckford Education Trust

A merger of two primary schools in Felixstowe, 350 metres apart, has been given approval to begin next year.

From September 2022, SET Maidstone, an infant school for pupils aged three to seven, and SET Causton, a junior school for ages seven to 11, will be one all-through primary school run by the Seckford Education Trust (SET). 

The merger was approved by the Regional Schools Commissioner, following a meeting in September. 

The special educational needs unit at SET Maidstone will be relocated to SET Causton. 

Lucy Thompson, head of school, said: "Now that the merger of SET Maidstone and SET Causton Schools has been approved, maintaining the small school feel and ensuring our SEND unit doesn't change are our top priorities. 

"As both schools are already managed by one head of school and are less than 350m from each other I'm confident that the transition into one community will be smooth."

Also approved was the proposed reduction in pupil admission numbers -- from 75 to 45 -- for reception year. This was necessary because of the trend in falling pupil numbers in Felixstowe and the region. 

The SET Maidstone Infant and Causton Junior school has confirmed three positive Covid cases

Parents, carers and staff are being encouraged to help name the new school - Credit: Google Maps

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

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

A few concerns were raised: parents questioned how the merged school would cope with extra traffic and how the "small school feel" would be maintained. 

Parents, carers and other stakeholders are being encouraged to take part in planned community events where the building plans and naming process will be revealed. 

Mrs Thompson said: "We want to hear from parents, carers and staff about how we can best prepare for the newly merged school, and we encourage people to come along.  

"There will also be the opportunity for the community to name the new school. As so many different people are involved in the lives of our children, we really want to involve them in deciding the new school's name."