THE last junior and infant school combination in Thurrock could be set to amalgamate following a meeting of Thurrock Council’s cabinet on Wednesday (13 November).
Members heard from infant school chair of governors Angie Gaywood – a cabinet member who left the room during the discussion.
She said the amalgamation was an idea which came from the two schools which had been “working closely together for 18 months and share a leadership team” and one governing body which has led to “rapid school improvement”.
Members agreed to launch a consultation “on a proposal to amalgamate by closing either Arthur Bugler Infant School or Arthur Bugler Junior School and expanding the other school to become a primary; or closing both schools to open a new school as an all through primary on the same site”.
They also supported a recommendation to agree “an estimated capital investment of around £500,000 to be spent on linking the school together if amalgamation is approved” to be met from the council’s schools’ building condition budget.
A statement issued by the schools after the meeting stated: “The Governing Bodies of Arthur Bugler Infants and Arthur Bugler Junior schools welcome the news that the cabinet decision supported the recommendation for the local authority to hold a consultation to amalgamate the two schools to form a single primary school.”
The statement continued: “We feel we must be fairly unique as a separate infant and junior school in that it was the governing bodies of both schools who made the choice to formally become a primary school and we then took that proposal to the local authority.
“We are delighted they agreed to support this decision and present a consultation to stakeholders.
“The schools have been working more consistently and closely together for the last 18 months. Currently they informally share a leadership team across both schools and in the last six months the governing bodies took the decision to share members of the governing bodies across both schools and meet together in one meeting.
“In essence we are already working effectively as one school and amalgamation will formalise this working relationship.
“We are already seeing the benefits of working together as one school. Both schools have already benefited by sharing best practice, leadership and governance, staff development and resources across both the schools.
“We are now sharing all policies and are in the process of implementing single policies across both schools.
“Here at Arthur Bugler we celebrate our close links with our school community and are proud that we have a real sense of being a school family. We know this is one reason why we are a popular choice for parents because they have told us they feel they are valued as much as we value our pupils.
“We know this will only be strengthened by us becoming one school. We all look forward to exciting times ahead.
“The governors and staff are committed to providing the pupils of Arthur Bugler with the very best opportunities to learn.”