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Agenda item

The 'amalgamation' of Rawmarsh Monkwood Infant and Junior Schools

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 62 of a previous meeting held on 15th April, 2008, consideration was given to a report presented by the Manager, School Organisation Planning and Development, on the outcome of a statutory consultation on the proposal to amalgamate Rawmarsh Monkwood Infant and Junior Schools by the closure of Rawmarsh Monkwood Infant School and a change of age range at Rawmarsh Monkwood Junior School.

 

Members have previously agreed to consult as appropriate where two schools meet the considerations for amalgamation which are described in the ‘School Organisation Plan’. 

 

Pre-statutory consultations have been undertaken with School Governors, Staff and Parents, and copies of the consultation papers have also been sent to Ward Members.

 

Statutory proposals have now stood for 6 weeks (from 18th April to 30th May) and objections to the proposed amalgamation have been received, along with two petitions.

 

The meeting was informed of:-

 

-                       the principal objectives of amalgamation (as described in the School Organisation Plan in the section on ‘LEA Policies and Principles’ – and as described in an Appendix to the report now submitted)

 

-                       the background to the proposal and the reasons for recommending amalgamation of Rawmarsh Monkwood Infant and RawmarshMonkwoodJunior Schools

 

-                       the consultation process and papers sent out for consultation

 

-                       minutes of meetings held with the joint school governing bodies, joint school staff, and parents

 

-                       letters of objections received along with petitions

 

-                       the concerns raised and responses to those concerns

 

Members present raised questions with regard to the information presented, and the concerns of both residents and parents, as follows:-

 

  • petition

 

Total of 116 names – only 38 signatures from parents.

 

  • sample of returned slips

 

Most of the returned slips were from residents rather than parents.

 

  • concerns of residents – educational disruption/overcrowding, building work and environmental damage

 

The meeting was informed that rather than an ‘amalgamation’ being a disruption to students, past experience showed that it became part of the curriculum with students becoming more stimulated because of their involvement in the progress of building works. 

 

The education of students will not be disrupted and the children will remain in the current building, until the new building is complete.  All the children will then move to the new school together in friendship groups.     

 

There will be no environmental damage to the woodland area.

 

  • loss of Infant school site and possible loss of housing         

 

The area of the Junior school is approximately 6,500 sq. metres and the area of the Infant School is approximately 8,500 sq. metres.  The latest guidance from DCFS indicates that a school of 420 pupils (as in the case of Rawmarsh Monkwood Infant and Junior Schools) requires between 12-14,000 sq. metres.  Therefore, both sites will be required for the amalgamated school.

 

  • children’s safety if taking the children from Junior to Infant schools

 

The children would be able to walk through the grounds of the ‘amalgamated’ school, and currently walk between the Infant and Junior buildings.

 

  • soft and hard play provision

 

The Junior School will continue to have a play area and it is the intention to transfer the sports pitch to the infant site.

 

  • educational benefits of through primary schools

 

There is a notable difference in the standards profile for through Primary Schools and separate Junior Schools in Rotherham by the end of key Stage 2.  A submitted table illustrates that over the last three years the LA’s collective strategies to address the significant differences in standards between through primary schools and separate Junior Schools are bearing fruit and improving year on year.  In summary, it was felt by the LA that the concerns of both the residents and parents are unfounded.

 

On balance, Members present felt that the benefits of amalgamation and creation of a through primary school outweigh the case put forward by the objectors to the amalgamation.

 

Resolved:-  (1) That the proposal as submitted to amalgamate RawmarshMonkwoodJunior School and RawmarshMonkwoodInfant School by closing the Infant School and the expansion of the age range at the Junior School, with effect from 1st September, 2008, be approved.

 

(2)  That the Secretary of State be informed accordingly.

Supporting documents: