Schools merger set to go ahead

Whitehouse will have a new primary school within the next three years if councillors give the go-ahead next week to merge the existing infant and junior schools.

IPSWICH: Whitehouse will have a new primary school within the next three years if councillors give the go-ahead next week to merge the existing infant and junior schools.

It is part of a rolling programme which has already seen six infant and junior schools in Ipswich being replaced by all-through primaries. Another five in Ipswich and Felixstowe will be redeveloped when funding is available.

The bulk of the cash for the project is coming from the Government's “building schools for the future” initiative.

There will also be a nursery unit for 52 youngsters on the site at the Westbourne-Whitehouse campus, with the primary school accommodating 420 pupils. Instead of transferring between two separate schools at the age of eight, children will have the continuity of one primary education facility.

For the first time, primary age pupils in the area will have access to modern information and computer technology and physical education facilities.

By the spring of 2012, Suffolk county council will have built the school which will replace what have been described by Ian Brown, the officer in charge of new school projects, as “among the poorest in the county.”

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In a report to the county Cabinet, he says: “Standards at both the infant and junior schools are generally below national averages, with the junior school having a combined percentage of pupils achieving level four-plus in English and maths of less than 69per cent in each of the past four years. The national average is 73pc.

“Pupils attending the proposed 3-11 primary school will have a wider range of teaching and learning facilities open to them. Teachers will benefit also by learning from each other and sharing ideas which can only contribute to raising standards.”

In advance of the school being built, the infant and junior will be merged on April 1 next year.