Head is ‘relaxed’ over merger plan

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PARENTS could find out as early as next month if two secondary schools more then eight miles apart are to be merged.

In March, Northants County Council announced a public consultation into the proposed merging of Kingsbrook School in Deanshanger and Roade School.

The decision could affect up to 1,600 students from Deanshanger and surrounding villages, as well as students in Bucks, who are travelling from as far afield as Preston Bissett and Winslow.

This week head teacher Pamela Hutchison said the merger will give students more subject options and played down fears of them rushing between the two sites, losing valuable lesson time.

She said only older students who have plenty of free periods would be asked to make the journey.

Results of the consultation published last week showed only 64 people had taken part.

Of those, 69 per cent said they were opposed to the merger, 22 per cent were in favour, while nine per cent said they were neutral or needed more information.

Parent Louise Nash, from Deanshanger, backed the merger and said: “Kids will be able to study more subjects than they would with just one school.”

Another parent, who asked not to be named, said she was concerned about Roade being in special measures and the time taken out of the school day travelling between sites.

She added: “Parents chose Kingsbrook as it is a successful, smaller than average comprehensive in a rural setting. The proposed merger will make it a very large comprehensive of 1,500 students.”

Kingsbrook head Pamela Hutchison said older students will only have to move between sites a few times a fortnight and in other areas students are forced to leave their nearest school entirely to attend an A-level college which offers their course.

She added: “It is not unusual for children to move from one school to another for the subjects they need at A-level and I’m actually quite relaxed about it.”

She also said while Roade School has been in special measures for 18 months, by working in partnership with Kingsbrook improvements were beginning to show.

She added: “We have been working together for the last year and there have been three inspections during that time. In each one progress has been made with some very favourable comments. We are very confident we are moving rapidly in the right direction.”

NCC is due to make a final decision on the proposal on Tuesday, July 19.