Chipping Sodbury schools to merge

June 29 2020
Chipping Sodbury schools to merge

TWO schools that operate on the same site in Chipping Sodbury are merging from the new term in September.

Raysfield Infants and Junior Schools will amalgamate to become Raysfield Primary School.

There will be no change in the number of pupils admitted, with 60 places open in reception each year.

It means parents will not have to formally apply to move their child from Years 2 to 3.

The decision, approved by South Gloucestershire Council cabinet member for schools, Erica Williams, is the final step in the process to bring the two schools, which operate under the Raysfield Federation banner, together as a single institution.

The schools already operate under the motto: “Two schools – one family.”

It follows consultation with parents, carers and other interested parties in February and March, to which the response was “overwhelmingly in favour” of the proposed merger, according to a council officer’s report recommending the move.

The council says that being a single school means Raysfield Primary can take pupils from reception through to Year Six and prepare them for secondary school, “managing their progression seamlessly”.

Pupils and staff will have access to all the facilities of the two existing schools throughout their time at the primary school and the curriculum will provide a more consistent approach to each youngster’s learning.

The school has written to parents to explain there will be no changes to uniform or the timings of the school day.

Cllr Williams said: “This is a really positive way to end the school year at Raysfield, and I know that the teachers, pupils and parents are all looking forward to coming together as a single primary school in September.

Improving outcomes for all children in South Gloucestershire is this council’s top priority and this amalgamation will help the staff team focus on making the best use of this site for the benefit of all of the children from reception to Year Six.

Across South Gloucestershire all of our schools, pupils and families have worked so hard over the past few months to make sure the young people can keep learning in difficult circumstances.

There is still work to do to plan for September, but I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for their hard work as we approach the summer break.”

Headteacher Claire Hill said: “We have long been one family across two schools, though from next term and following a long process and lot of work by the school, the council and many parents, we will finally be one school family with all of the benefits that will bring for our pupils and staff.

Our staff have been wonderfully supported by parents and carers throughout the Covid-19 situation to ensure that our children continue to learn, and this exciting change means that we will be able to build on that as a single school community from September.”

Both schools were rated “good” in their latest Ofsted inspections.

A report recommending the amalgamation said: “An important issue in any reorganisation will be the wish to protect the employment of staff and to maintain continuity of provision.

If the schools are to be amalgamated then there will be a period of formal consultation with members of staff in line with locally agreed policies for schools.

It would be for the governing body of the proposed school to determine the staffing arrangements.”

By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service