March parents urged to have their say on school merger plan

Maple Grove School March ANL-150124-085905009
Maple Grove School March ANL-150124-085905009

Parents are being urged to have their say on plans to amalgamate two March schools.

Maple Grove Infant School and Westwood Junior School could be merged to create Westwood Primary School in September if the proposal is approved.

Cambridgeshire County Council will be deciding on the future of the schools before April 16.

The proposal is being made to combine the schools after Maple Grove was placed in special measures after being rated as inadequate in an Ofsted inspection.

A consultation document on Westwood’s website states: “The proposal to close Maple Grove Infant School and extend the age range of Westwood Community Junior School is the only organisational option available which delivers the local authority’s preference for an all-through primary school (four-11 age range) whilst retaining the successful leadership and management team already in place at the Junior School.

“It also provides a significant degree of continuity as the headteacher of the Junior School is currently supporting (two days a week) the Infant school with the implementation of the post inspection improvement plan agreed by the Local Authority Implementation Group.

“As the least disruptive option, and one that can be implemented by September 1, it is considered that this is the best way to deliver the educational improvements required alongside providing familiarity for children in their day-to- day experience of school.

“The proposal is supported by the Governing Body of Westwood Community Junior School.”

This document states that advantages of a primary school are: consistency for teaching, learning and management, better staff retention and cost effectiveness.

A consultation with parents will run until February 27 and the results will be taken to the children and young people’s committee on March 10 when a decision will be taken on whether to publish a statutory notice to proceed with the proposal.

If the notice is published, representations will be given between March 12 and April 8.

The county is looking to make a final decision on April 16.

Leader of the county council, Steve Count, said the important thing was to get the infant school out of special measures.

He said: “It is a consultation, parents of children, staff and the local community will be able to add their thoughts.”

Cllr Count also said the county council would not have a role in the day-to-day running of the school.

If you would like to take part in the consultation, an online questionnaire is available online. Go to: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/proposaltocreateanallthroughprimaryschoolwestwoodprimary

You can email your views to: ian.trafford@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or write to Ian Trafford (0 -19 Area Education Officer), Cambridgeshire County Council, Box No: OCT1213, Room No: 2nd floor, Octagon, Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge. CB3 0AP.