Primary school plan set for approval

The Advertiser Series: Looking to close infant school Looking to close infant school

PLANS to create a single primary school for an area of Chester-le-Street could be approved next week.

Durham County Council’s cabinet will be asked on Wednesday (July 16) to agree to the closure of South Pelaw Infant School so that Chester-le-Street CofE Junior School can cater for pupils right through from four-years-old to secondary school age from January 1.

The move is broadly supported by parents and other stakeholders.

A statutory notice announcing the shake-up attracted no formal objections or comments.

Durham County Council tries to bring junior and infant schools together where it can because its educations officers believe that changes to the rules on Government funding threaten the long-term viability of smaller schools.

Officials also believe that combining infant and junior is in the best interests of children and their families by providing continuity and progress of learning.

The majority of respondents to consultation carried out by the council earlier in the year supported the move, saying it would benefit pupils.

Five people spoke against it, saying it was a cost-saving measure.

Councillor Ossie Johnson, the council cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We believe that creating a primary school to replace the separate infant and junior schools is in the best interests of pupils and their families.

“As well as removing the need for children to change schools half way through their primary education it will also mean parents only have to apply for one primary school place.

“The changes will also help to safeguard the long-term viability of the school and enhance the educational provision in the community.”

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