Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting NORTHERN ECHO to 80360 or email us
Councillors urged to back merger plan for Ouston schools
A VILLAGE’s infant and junior schools could be merged under plans to be considered by councillors next week.
The shake-up at Ouston, near Chester-le-Sreet, would see Ouston Infant School close and Ouston Junior School become a 270-place primary school catering for four to 11-year-olds from January.
The Labour-run council’s cabinet will be recommended to approve the move when it meets on Wednesday (September 11).
The council’s policy is to merge Infant and junior schools to form all-in-one primary school wherever possible.
New Government funding proposals could mean that smaller schools lose out to bigger ones.
There were no objections to the proposals during the six-week formal consultation period that followed the publication of a statutory notice.
But previous to that there were some objections and residents raised fears that the merger could increase traffic congestion at the junior school, in Arisaig, posing a threat to children’s safety a report to the cabinet says.
The council’s corporate management team say in the report that traffic surveys have been undertaken and that officers are working with the schools to find ways of reducing the number of vehicles dropping pupils at the school each day.
In other schools walking bus schemes and staggered opening times have been effective ways of reducing the amount of traffic.
The merger will cost £850,000 for alterations to the junior school so that it can accommodate the extra pupils.
The report says :“In the most recent school inspections Ofsted judged both Ouston Infant and Ouston Junior Schools as 'good'. “In light of the current 'good' standard of education provided at the school, officers believe that the proposal to change the age range of Ouston Junior School to create a Primary School, and to close Ouston Infant School will not have a detrimental effect on standards and school improvement.”
Councillor Ossie Johnson, cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “These proposals are not financially driven but educationally driven as we feel the best way to ensure a stronger and more viable school is to merge the infants and juniors together to form one school which can deliver a curriculum, across the full primary age range.”
Comments are closed on this article.