Your village school needs YOU
PARENTS have been urged to sign their children up for a place at Winterton School this September to ensure it stays open.
The call for pupils came today from chairman of the interim executive board John Organ as he confirmed a proposal to allow a multi-academy trust to take over was agreed this week.
The news was greeted with relief and delight by campaigners who have battled to save the school since the board started a consultation on closure earlier in the year, claiming it had become unsustainable.
“It is the greatest news we could have hoped for the school, our children and the village community as a whole,” said Matt Nichols, a parent who took up Mr Organ’s challenge to “coerce, convince or whatever” someone to partner the school.
“Out of the 42 academy trusts I contacted, Mr Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne was the first one to get back to me and even in the early stages of just asking if the trust would consider looking at Winterton Primary he gave me the most positive response of anyone,” Matt explained.
“In the last sentence to me in his email he said he sincerely hoped that the school found a solution to save it from closure.
“With work of The Consortium Multi-Academy Trust, IEB, the committee, the community, parents and carers and not forgetting the important people of all - the children - hopefully we have.
“All we need now are pupils back through the doors to give the great school, Winterton Primary, the chance it deserves to succeed.”
Fellow parent Ayeshia Hammond said: “It’s fantastic that the community of Winterton has pulled together to save our school. Let’s hope we can now get the number of children to return in September for it to move forward and continue for future generations.”
In his letter to parents Mr Organ said the Department for Education’s Headteacher Board had agreed to the proposal by the Consortium Multi Academy Trust.
But he warned the Halesworth-based trust would have to go though its own process of due diligence so it could confirm the agreement it had offered in principle. If that proved satisfactory the conversion would start.
“It is absolutely key to the success of this venture, for our school to have a strong number of pupils on roll in September and I am therefore strongly encouraging all parents and carers to consider keeping their children at Winterton Primary School and Nursery in September to allow this opportunity to remain viable,” he said.
Consortium had said it needed a minimum of 40 pupils in September for its model to work.
Mr Organ also paid tribute to the parents. “The support that you have shown the school during the consultation period has been both impressive and important,” he said.
“A successful outcome will be very dependent on the number of pupils in our school in September and therefore the future of our school is very much in your hands.”
As reported here, it was revealed earlier in the summer by acting head Martin White that pupils had achieved higher than county and national average results in their SATs.
They came after Norfolk County Council assistant director for children’s services Chris Snudden claimed her department was deeply concerned about lack of leadership and the quality of education at the school.
Pupils are due to go back September 6 and parents are urged to email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to confirm whether their children will be there.
Mr Aalders-Dunthorne, Consortium’s principal and chief executive, has been invited to meet parents at the school on September 18 at 6pm to talk about future plans. The IEB is also staging a drop-in session on September 11 at 1.30pm to provide more information.