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Schools set for a merger on nurseries
THREE primary schools could be merged with their attached nursery schools.
Oxfordshire County Council is proposing that West Kidlington Primary School, Five Acres Primary School in Ambrosden and John Hampden Primary School in Thame should absorb their nursery schools as nursery classes.
In all three cases, the primary and nurseries share a headteacher and governing body.
Five Acres headteacher Darrell Wood said: “It’s not so much that we proactively want to merge the two schools, because it will make no difference on the ground at all to parents or staff.
“It is simply that there is no financial reason to keep them separate any more.”
The change, which is going out to consultation, follows changes in how schools are funded.
In the consultation document, the county council suggests that having one school with one budget would mean funding could be better targeted.
It said: “Currently, some funding can only be spent by the governing bodies on the primary schools, even if there is a more urgent need for it in the nursery schools, and vice-versa.”
Disadvantages to the two schools remaining separate included each being inspected separately by Ofsted, two versions of any information required by the Department of Education needing to be compiled, and two budgets to manage.
Children in the three schools’ new nursery classes would still need to apply for a place in reception.
Mr Wood said: “While there was funding that made it worthwhile to have doubling up of admin tasks and Ofsted inspections, now there simply isn’t any reason to do so.”
He said parents would not notice “a single shred of difference”.
Consultation will run until January 28 and a decision on whether to press ahead will be taken either by Oxfordshire County Council education cabinet member Melinda Tilley or by the council’s cabinet if there are objections.
A final decision is likely to be taken in May or June.
Mrs Tilley said: “I don’t think there is any reason for concern at all.
“They should merge quite seamlessly into the school.”