Two Huntingdonshire schools on brink of management merger

Holywell Primary School, Needingworth, received an outstanding Ofsted report, Head teacher Julie Branch with her staff and pupils Holywell Primary School, Needingworth, received an outstanding Ofsted report, Head teacher Julie Branch with her staff and pupils

Thursday, June 5, 2014
1:00 PM

Two Huntingdonshire schools could be run by a single ‘federation’ as part of plan to push for improvements.

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Under the agreement Holywell CofE Primary School in Needingworth – which was rated as ‘outstanding’ at last year’s Ofsted inspection – would work with St Helen’s Primary School in Bluntisham. The Bluntisham school was told by Ofsted it ‘requires improvement’.

The schools already work together on an informal basis – sharing best practice, specialist resources, and working together on joint year group exercises – the arrangement would allow for one executive headteacher and one governing body for both schools.

The proposals, which have been made subject to a public consultation, would see Holywell headteacher Julie Branch become the executive headteacher of the new federation.

She said: “We are very excited about it here because the schools are next door neighbours – lots of the children are friends and relatives of each other and it is a shared community.

“We have already formed quite a tight bond and a good link and it is something we see as a good potential next step.”

The single governing body would provide support, ensure that standards continue to improve in each school and that budgets are managed effectively.

Existing staff would continue to be employed to work in one or other school in line with their current contracts. Admissions criteria would also not change.

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: “The ultimate aim is for St Helen’s to be judged as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted as well as Holywell.

“Before the federation is formalised, both schools wish to consult with the community.”

A questionnaire is being distributed to parents and staff, seeking views on the proposal, which must be returned by June 27. Both governing bodies will hold a joint meeting on July 9 to consider the outcomes from the consultation and the make-up of the proposed federation governing body.

After this, both governing bodies will hold separate meetings to determine whether to proceed with the formation of a federation. If agreed, the new federation would take effect from July 10.

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