By Kate Scotter
Thursday, July 24, 2014
The short-term future of one of Norfolk’s smallest schools has been secured after a deal was struck with a neighbouring education provider.
It had been feared that Mileham Primary School would be forced to close after governors said there was “little chance” of recruiting a permanent full-time headteacher to replace current head Ed Pearson-Shaul before September.
But now, the school, in Mileham, between Dereham and Fakenham, has succeeded in forging a partnership with nearby Litcham School.
As a result, Mileham Primary, which was founded in 1677, will remain open at its The Street site and it will keep its own identity with its own staff.
David Simington, currently an assistant headteacher at the all-through Litcham School and who leads the primary phase, will provide the day-to-day leadership at Mileham while Litcham School’s headteacher Jim Adams will oversee the partnership.
Mr Adams said it was an “exciting” opportunity and will give the 28 pupils at Mileham fresh learning experiences.
He said: “It’s no secret that the local authority is looking for schools to forge partnerships and this is a really good opportunity.”
Mr Adams, who has been in post since last September, said: “We felt as educators that we should be doing something to secure the immediate future of Mileham Primary for the youngsters there, otherwise I don’t know what would’ve happened.
“We are committed to a more permanent relationship with Mileham no matter what it looks like and it’s going to be a really fantastic opportunity for the staff and youngsters who will get lots of experiences that they may otherwise would’ve got.”
The partnership will start from September and the two schools have begun consultations with parents, staff and the local authority.
Mr Pearson-Shaul left the school at the end of the summer term for a job at Saxmundham in Suffolk.
He said: “I’m really pleased that we have been able to forge a partnership with Litcham School. There are not many partnerships between a primary school and an all-through school and this is the first one in this cluster - hopefully we are developing a model that will become something that is developed.”
Judi Bedawi, who is the vice chair of the governing body at Mileham, added: “Both schools are viewing this as an opportunity to reshape the educational provision and outcomes in this area.
“It is vital that we develop new ways of working that meet the demands of twenty-first century education whilst reflecting the best traditions of schooling in Norfolk.”
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