Formal consultation to take place into Newhaven schools merger

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PLANS to merge two schools in Newhaven received support from 72 per cent of respondents during a consultation exercise.

East Sussex County Council is proposing to amalgamate Grays Infants School and Southdown Junior School.

Just 20 per cent told the council they were against the scheme, while eight per cent neither agreed nor disagreed.

Lead member for learning and school effectiveness cllr Nick Bennett said: “I’m pleased a large majority of people support our proposals for these two schools.

“Like me, they are obviously pleased with what has been achieved in the past 18 months. The plans do make sense because they will build on the excellent progress that has been made by the headteacher and her team in that time.”

The county council has a policy of creating all-through primary schools from existing infants and junior schools when an opportunity arose and where it was appropriate.

Cllr Bennett said: “Nationally and locally all-through primary schools, in the main, achieve higher standards than separate infant and junior schools. This is because pupils benefit from single leadership and management and better continuity of learning.”

The aim is to build on the success of the formal partnership that has linked Grays Infants School and Southdown Junior School since Dec 2010.

Since that time the schools have worked together under the executive headship of one headteacher, Christine Terrey.

The county council issued 1,200 consultation documents and 166 replies were received.

To create the new all-through primary school the council would have to effectively close Southdown Junior School and expand the age range of Grays Infant School from 3-7 to 3-11.

The new school would initially operate across both existing school sites but the council would aim to bring the school together on the Southdown site as soon as practicably possible.

The decision was made this week to publish statutory notices on the plans.

This triggers a six week formal period of consultation during September and October.

A final decision will be made in November.