Primary schools set to merge

TWO Suffolk schools are set to merge to help raise standards and cut costs but many parents and teachers are against the move.Sprites Infant and Sprites Junior school could be amalgamated to become a primary school to save money, improve results and simplify administration.

TWO Suffolk schools are set to merge to help raise standards and cut costs but many parents and teachers are against the move.

Sprites Infant and Sprites Junior school could be amalgamated to become a primary school to save money, improve results and simplify administration.

But initial consultations reveal that 63 per cent of parents do not want any change because they are satisfied with the standard of education at the schools. There were also concerns that building work, including a corridor link between the schools, would be extensive and that staff morale would be low with the uncertainty of the future.

Suffolk County Council hopes that if the amalgamation goes ahead the schools could save up to £20,000 a year and the county council £50,000 a year through economies of scale.


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Also research has shown that children perform better in a primary school than in infant and junior schools because there is less disruption with the transition from school to school.

From analysis carried out on pupils in Ipswich in the last three years, the council discovered that there was a considerable dip in progress in reading for those pupils who transfer to junior school at the end of year two compared with those who remain in a primary school.

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Also on average pupils in the primary schools made between five and eight months' more progress by the end of the year six than pupils in junior schools.

The governors of Sprites Infant school disagreed with this and said that the amalgamation would have a negative effect on the quality of education and that the extent of any revenue savings were questionable and 'at best relatively insignificant'.

Chris Matthews, acting head teacher of Sprites Infants school, said: "We are awaiting for the executive decision, we have sent our views in to the LEA."

Peter Moore, the head teacher of Sprites Junior school said he saw the merger 'very positively'. "It is a good thing if it comes about – from the point of view of the children, they won't have to transfer between year two and three, I would like to see it happen – we will have to wait and see."

The two schools in Stonechat Road, Ipswich, currently share the same site, kitchen and caretaking.

If the amalgamation goes ahead the schools will become one primary school for three to 11-year-olds from September 2004.

The final decision depends on the results of consultation with the public. A statutory notice setting out the proposals will be published in February. If there are no written objections within two months of the publication of the notice the county council could start the amalgamation.

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