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Grantham infant schools look to change admission ages

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Plans for the alteration in school ages and admissions at three schools in Grantham are under consultation.

The consultation concerns both Harrowby Infant School, the National Junior School and Little Gonerby Infant School.

The plans have been submitted by Lincoln Academy Trust and the Infinity Academies Trust.

At present, the Harrowby and National schools work together under a single governing body and one executive headteacher, but they are still two separate schools. Little Gonerby operates under a separate academy trust.

The National Church of England Junior School in Grantham, image via Google Streetview (36865640)
The National Church of England Junior School in Grantham, image via Google Streetview (36865640)

Pupils at the infant schools must apply for a place at the junior school and then transition from one school to another.

Under the suggested changes, pupils would not need to change schools and would benefit from a seamless transition from Reception through the key stages up to Year 6 in the same school.

The trusts say this would allow pupils and parents to build a long-term relationship with the school over a seven-year period ensuring that home and school links are strong and consistent for the benefit of all.

They also say families will be able to enjoy an ongoing relationship with one school and one Academy Trust. They will be able to attend events as a family with their children regardless of year group and the challenges of having children at different schools with complications around drop-off and collection times will be removed.

A consultation is now under way to review the plans to make two legal changes which will allow for this transition; adjusting the age ranges for the schools and reducing the published admission number.

This would see the lowering of the admissions age range at the National to include children from Reception upwards and the adaptation of the premises, along with the adjustment of the admissions age range at Harrowby and Little Gonerby to enable pupils to stay until Year 6 and reorganisation of the premises.

A reduction in the published admission number for the three schools would mean that The National School will admit 45 children per year group and Little Gonerby/Harrowby 30 children per year group.

Charmaine Morgan, South Kesteven District Councillor, whose St Vincent's ward includes these school areas, is supportive of the proposed changes but careful to ensure forward planning for increased pupil numbers is also in place.

Coun Morgan said: “I support the proposal to extend the admission ages within these schools which will make access to primary school places more local for families and reduce the need to travel.

“I am concerned however at the plan to reduce the number of places in each school and fear this may be premature. South Kesteven District Council has a number of development plans in the pipeline which will significantly increase the overall population of Grantham.

"Much of the development will take place in the Southern Quadrant. Harrowby and Little Gonerby may see a demand for places as a result.

“It would seem pertinent if the plans go ahead to ensure there is the ability to expand the capacity of each school should it be required.”

If successful, the alterations to the buildings would start later in 2022 or early 2023 and would be phased over time in preparation for each new year group.

The consultation closes on June 17, 2022.

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