TWO New Forest schools have agreed to unite under a single board of governors after saying parents were “overwhelmingly” in favour of the idea.
Fordingbridge’s junior and infant schools are joining in a federation with a single executive head teacher post after the move was formally backed by governors last month following a public consultation.
Both sets of governors made clear the plans were not intended to create a single school or dispose of any property from the shared site off Pennys Lane.
A schools spokesperson added: “Responses to consultation from parents, carers, staff and the wider community were overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed federation.”
Melanie Gill, chair of governors at the junior, and Carol Jackson, chair at the infant, issued a joint statement welcoming the decision that will merge the two bodies.
They said: “We are thrilled that parents and staff are so positive about the prospect of Federation because governors at both schools believe that this is the way to ensure the best possible provision of education for local children from Year R to Year 6, now and in the future.
“We can now look forward to exciting times ahead.”
She said their first job would be to recruit the executive head, a role which is currently filled by Kim Robertson as interim head of the infant, on top of her original job as head of the junior. Staff contracts will remain with the county council.
By working together, the schools said they will be able to attract and retain an “outstanding” head teacher and “high quality, ambitious” staff, as well as sharing pupil information, policies and knowledge, and giving a smoother transition between infant and junior.
There are already about 30 school federations in Hampshire including in the New Forest Wildground infant and junior in Dibden Purlieu, and the Oaks CofE Learning Federation made up of Copythorne, Netley Marsh and Lyndhurst infant schools.
As reported in the A&T, when the federation was first proposed governors promised to protect the individual identities of the schools, which will each have a lead teacher for day-to-day management.
The first meeting of the new Fordingbridge governing body is scheduled for 15th October. An open morning at the schools, with refreshments, will be held a month later on Saturday 10th November from 9.30am-midday.