More pupils after Methwold schools merger
A primary school which became the first in the county to amalgamate with a nearby high school has seen a rise in pupil numbers.
Hockwold Primary, which merged with Methwold High earlier this year to become Hockwold and Methwold Community School, has seen 15 extra children pass through its doors this term, up from 93 last year.
Headteacher Denise Walker, who already led both schools, said she believed parents were supportive of the school and that younger pupils enjoyed taking advantage of facilities at Methwold.
'There's still lots to do but the pupils have latched onto it really easily and already see themselves as part of the whole,' she said.
'A lot of the children said they like it being different at the high school as it's a grown up thing.
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'A lot of parents, and the community, were really anxious the school was going to change but we've kept the identity of both.
'Pupil numbers have gone up in the primary school and I think it's because people find it interesting. 'There are more opportunities for the children and I think parents are interested in that.'
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Although the proposal was to formally close Hockwold Primary as a separate institution and extend the age-range of Methwold High from 11 to 18-year-olds to four to 18-year-olds, younger pupils are still taught from Hockwold.
The amalgamation now means many pupils are taught at the same school throughout their education.
The school also extended its age range of education for older pupils this term and began offering degree and distance learning courses in September. It is hoped the scheme will provide a credible alternative for school-leavers and mature students in an area where higher education is often out of reach culturally and financially.
To date, 15 people have taken up places on an adult GCSE maths course, one 18-year-old on a foundation degree in sports science through Loughborough College, and nine took up places on a masters course in education.
Two adults are also taking an A Level in sociology, one in psychology, and one in law.
Mrs Walker added: 'I think as a school we have a responsibility to move in a more outward-facing way in the community.
'The school should be seen as accessible to everybody. We have to think about what we can provide in the area and encourage people to contribute to the local economy.'