Governing bodies at North Walsham Junior, and Infant School and Nursery plan merger

Plans to merge the governing bodies of two North Walsham schools will benefit children and not lead to job cuts, it has been claimed.

Consultations are under way on creating a federation between the governing bodies of the town's Manor Road junior school, and the infant school and nursery.

If approved, the new joint body would come into being on June 1, according to county councillor Paul Morse, who is chairing the joint governors' committee managing the consultation process.

'This is all in the context of diminishing support from Norfolk County Council due to financial cutbacks and the increasing emphasis on encouraging schools to work together as closely as possible to share resources. Legally, the two schools will remain separate,' said Mr Morse, who is a governor at the 250-pupil junior school.

A merger would be a natural progression for the junior and 296-strong infant and nursery which shared the same site, he added.

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Among other benefits it would help the transition of younger pupils to the junior school, enable staff to share training opportunities, lead to closer co-operation on children with special educational needs and make a 'through curriculum' possible across both schools.

'This is not a job-cutting exercise,' said Mr Morse. 'The creation of a federation would leave the same staffing in place. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think the children would benefit.'

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But Mr Morse said the new body would be 'bound to look at the schools, their management and staffing structure.'

He added: 'I can't envisage any forced job losses. That's not on the agenda.'

At present both schools have 17-strong governing bodies but the joint body would have a total of 19. The consultation process would finish on March 20 and if the federation was approved, elections would be held after Easter.

Meetings for parents to explain the plan will be held on Monday February 6 at the infant school and nursery, and on February 8 at the junior school. Both start at 7pm.

? Litcham High School and Litcham Primary, near Dereham, have shared a governing body since September 2010.

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