Parents and teachers are being given the opportunity to comment on Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council’s plans to amalgamate a primary and nursery school.
The Council is proposing to close Gurnos Nursery School and transfer pupils to the neighbouring Goetre Primary School, extending the starting age range for the latter from four to three years old.
The move, it says, would mean a consistent approach to the children’s learning, ‘giving them nine uninterrupted years of education and minimising the potential for disruption during transition from nursery to primary school’.
County Borough Council Cabinet Member for Learning Cllr Lisa Mytton said: “Amalgamation would enable the strengths present in the existing separate nursery and primary schools to be combined to deliver high quality provision in one school operating across two adjacent sites.
“The changes should not have any negative effect on the children at any stage of their education at the school,” she added. “Instead, it would allow a shared vision and leadership, fully embedding a consistent and coherent curriculum across the primary phase.”
The consultation period is running from 5 February to 29 March. Parents and teachers have already taken part in a number of consultation events, and further responses are invited in an online questionnaire and via post/in person.
In recent years, the Council has sought to move towards a primary school model for three to 11 years education by amalgamating separate nursery, infant and junior schools where there has been the opportunity.
In 2011, Goetre Infants and Junior Schools were amalgamated to become Goetre Primary School. At the time, it was decided not to include the Gurnos Nursery -currently the only stand-alone nursery school in Merthyr Tydfil - as part of the process.
But in the light of experience in other primary schools which have nursery classes, the development of the Foundation Phase curriculum and continuing pressures on the schools budget, the Council now believes it appropriate to reconsider that decision.
The amalgamated school would have nursery classes with the capacity for the same full-time equivalent places as is currently provided. Goetre Primary School would also continue to provide 59 places (two classes) for each year group, from reception through to Year 6, with a total capacity of 500 pupil places.
It is proposed that the Headteacher of Goetre Primary School would become the headteacher of the amalgamated school and expected that staff from the nursery school would become part of the new school.
The governing body of the primary school would continue as the governing body of the amalgamated school and could elect to increase its membership from 13 members to 17 to include members from the nursery school’s governors.
The Council’s proposals would mean that the two schools would be amalgamated at the start of the autumn term in September 2018. It is anticipated that if the proposal is fully approved at all stages that a final decision will be made about amalgamation in June 2018.
Children living within the catchment area can apply for admission to Gurnos Nursery from the term after their third birthday. Parents can apply for their child to attend Goetre Primary School if they have reached their fourth birthday on or before 31 August.
All stakeholders will be able to contribute to the consultation online via the CwmTaf Consultation hub at www.cwmtafhub.co.uk Alternatively, paper copies of the consultation can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org