Thursday, 3 April 2014

Dorridge school merger plan latest

PLANS to formally merge Dorridge Infant and Junior School should move forward, a council officer has said.

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One resident objected to the plans, which have been put forward by the schools’ joint governing body and would take affect from September.

Both have one head teacher and serve the same catchment and move would technically close the junior school and expand its age range to include infant.

One objection said: The information provided to parents does not make a clear or evidence-based case in favour, with vague and woolly-worded reasons put forward.

“There is no exposition as to why and how the current (historic) structure is no longer suitable, which would be a reasonable question to ask.”

They pointed to an August Ofsted inspection of the Junior school that found it “requires improvement”.

The objection to the council said: “I feel the immediate and over-arching priority for the schools’ (relatively new) management is to prove themselves capable of raising the standards in the short term.

“Without a clear, unambiguous case put forward by the Governers to say exactly how the proposed restructuring will enable management to achieve improved standards, the real danger in my view is that the restructuring will become an unwanted distraction to management and will, in the short term at least, make it more difficult for them to focus and deliver the improvements that the majority of parents are genuinely anxious for.”

Another asked for the new uniform to “be simplified and made less expensive, especially with regard to the PE kit?

“Today I rang Palmers of Knowle, one of the 2 local uniform stockists I'm aware of, to ask the cost of the PE kit. They quoted £11.99 for the tshirt and £17.50 for the rugby shirt, both of which have to be in special colours and/or badged. In addition to these items, parents are required to provide shorts, tracksuit bottoms and socks in specified colours as well as pumps and training shoes.”

The governing body has written to parents to state there will be no uniform changes until September next year.

A council report said: “The governing body of the Dorridge schools believe that this proposal will have a positive impact on standards at both schools by supporting transition for pupils between key stages, providing a more consistent approach to assessment for pupils and supporting staff development.”

“The all-through primary school will provide benefits to ensure better rates of progression in learning and achievement throughout the school. It will also allow for greater movement of teachers across the school and establish a coherent ethos across all key stages.”

It recommends Ken Meeson, cabinet member for Education, Children and Young People, approve the plans to move to formal representation stage on Monday.
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