Trafford Council has launched an informal public consultation on £8million plans to amalgamate Stamford Park Infant and Junior schools in Hale – despite the fact the Junior school does not want to be a part of it.
The council is planning to create a new multi-million pound primary school building on the existing school field site if the proposal is progressed, saying the school would help to accommodate the “growing population of primary age children in the area”.
The adjoining Infant and Junior schools, which have been on Cedar Road in Hale since 1905, are home to over 500 pupils aged between three and 11.
But the schools have opposing views over whether to accept Trafford’s amalgamation plan.
Instead, the governing body of the Junior school has submitted an application to convert to academy status and is working towards a conversion as early as this autumn. It is currently seeking approval for its plans through a consultation with staff, parents and local residents.
Academisation would see the Junior school become independent of local authority control and receive its funding direct from the government, giving the school more funding and greater control, it claims. It would also join the Hamblin Education Trust, which already counts Altrincham Grammar School for Boys and North Cestrian as members.
But the governing body of the Infant school opposes this proposal “in the strongest terms”.
A letter sent to parents on June 19th read: “If this academy conversion were to proceed, we would lose a unique opportunity to amalgamate our schools and provide an improved educational journey for all pupils – in a modern, fit-for-purpose learning environment.”
It added that by pursuing the academisation route, the Junior school is “risking the future viability of our school” and calls on it to “withdraw their current plans to academise”.
The Infant school also said that its pupils were “currently being taught in substandard conditions”, evidenced by the recent two-day closure of the school after the discovery of a high level of environmental mould spores in the school following an air quality survey.
Trafford Council confirmed that were the Junior school to convert into an academy, “the plan to build a new a school will, sadly, not go ahead”.
The proposed £8m new-build school would be located on the current site of the Edwardian schools and include premises for the Early Years foundation stage, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 for a three-form entry school. There would also be a landscaping budget for playing fields and playgrounds, marked out pitches and a multi-use games area.
Councillor Catherine Hynes, Trafford Council’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “The proposal to build the new school is in the best interests of local school children and the wider community in this area as a whole. Trafford Council does not support the plan for the academisation of the Junior School.
“The Council believes the amalgamation proposal is in the best interests of local children and will put forward this view during the consultation on academisation.”
Parents, carers, teaching staff, residents and other stakeholders can email their views on amalgamating the schools via this online consultation form.
The period of informal consultation will end at midnight on Monday 15th July.