DCSIMG

Town backs school merger proposal

b11-850 Staff and pupils at Holmemead Middle School Biggleswade celebrate a good Ofsted report.

Centre L-R: Deputy head teacher Chris Greenhall, deputy head teacher Caroline McGuckian and head teacher Steve Phillips.

b11-850 Staff and pupils at Holmemead Middle School Biggleswade celebrate a good Ofsted report. Centre L-R: Deputy head teacher Chris Greenhall, deputy head teacher Caroline McGuckian and head teacher Steve Phillips.

A TOWN has voted overwhelmingly to potentially merge an academy, school and a pre-school which could in time operate as one organisation.

Stephen Phillips, executive headteacher at the Biggleswade Academy Trust: Holmemead Middle School has welcomed the enthusiastic response to a public consultation which was launched earlier this year.

The former Holmemead Middle School, Southlands Lower School and Brigham Pre-school invited the community to give their views on the schools’ futures.

Since the start of this term, Mr Phillips has worked as the executive head at Holmemead and also at Southlands Lower, while his former deputy Chris Greenhall has been the head of school at the latter.

Mr Phillips’ other previous deputy, Caroline McGuckian, has been the head of school at Holmemead.

The arrangement will be in place until August and was introduced after previous Southlands headteacher Jennifer Morgan retired at the end of last term.

The consultation – which asked respondents to give their feedback by writing in – attracted more than 120 responses.

Anyone who was interested in taking part could also attend consultation meetings held at the three organisations.

Three options are being considered for the future

The first would see a permanent headteacher being appointed at Southlands and the system remaining broadly similar to how it was before Mrs Morgan retired.

Option two would seek to develop joint administration, leadership and staffing options for all three, which would operate as a chain of academies.

The third option would see the three being merged and renamed as a completely new organisation.

Most respondents want the three to operate together in a more structured way, so option three or a combination of this and option two seem likely.

Mr Phillips said: “We are very pleased with the input that we have had, and we are also excited about what the future holds for Holmemead, Southlands Lower and Brigham.

“Running the three together as a group would mean greatly improved continuity for students, who would enjoy a continuous education from birth to the age of 19.”

 

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