On Monday East Sussex County Council will consider the next step in the proposed merger of Whitehill Infant and Herne Junior Schools in Crowborough.
Parents, staff, the governing body, local schools and other interested parties were invited to give their views on the amalgamation. 1,175 surveys were distributed, and by the end of the eight-week consultation period on 11th February, just 100 replies had been received. 68% of the people who responded were in favour of the merger.
The two schools have been working closely together since a federation was set-up in September 2009.
In 2012 East Sussex County Council tried to amalgamate the schools in time for the start of the 2013/14 academic year. Last time 93% of people were in favour of merger, but the proposal did not go ahead due to the governing body’s concerns about the loss of money from their combined budget.
In a report being considered by the Lead Members for Children’s Services, it states the Council and the governing body believe that the benefits of a single all-through school outweigh the loss of one lump sum from the budget formula. The challenges of operating across two sites is recognised.
The Council now propose to publish the statutory notices to amalgamate Whitehill Infant School and Herne Junior School with effect from 1st September 2015. Notices will be displayed on the Council’s website, in local papers and at the school gates A new Executive Headteacher has recently been appointed. Mrs Kate Owbridge will start work on the day the new school is formally established.
Some of the comments received during the consultation include:
I believe the two schools can be better led by two individual Headteachers whose speciality is either infant or junior (rather than both). Split management rarely works.
It makes sense to join together as one school. It will make it much easier to follow for us as parents and children would automatically get a place at Herne.
I hope it doesn’t affect the school funding. It will make sense not to have to apply to go to Herne. The school will need a strong experienced head to manage and oversee both sites.
Click on the following link to read the previous article about the merger:
The re-organisation will be considered at a meeting on Monday 9th March at 10am in County Hall, Lewes. The meeting is open to the public. You can read the report here.