School trusts join forces over village issues

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A school issue which has divided a village could soon have a solution.

The education trusts which run the two schools - Gamlingay First School and Gamlingay Village College, have joined forces with a proposal to combine the schools instead of making them compete against each other for pupils.

Stratton Education Trust and The Cam Academy Trust have jointly launched a consultation with parents and community leaders for the future of school education in Gamlingay.

The proposals are that:

From 1st September 2017, there should be one school in Gamlingay; a primary school established as part of the catchment area of Comberton Village College.

That school should, as soon as practicable after 2017, be located at Gamlingay Village College, thus also ensuring continuing wider community participation in the Village College.

For those parents who wish their child to be educated through the three-tier system, joining Stratton Upper School in Year 9, the transitional arrangements make that possible within Gamlingay in the first year. After that, middle school education can be provided in Potton, with Gamlingay remaining part of the Stratton catchment area as now.

Gamlingay Village College should, before September 2017, transfer from the Stratton Education Trust to The Cam Academy Trust.

A consultation meeting with all parents outlining these proposals was held last week at Gamlingay Village College.

In a statement issued by the Trusts they said: “In developing these proposals, the Trusts have been guided by the following aims:

“To provide the best possible education, experience and opportunities for our pupils.

“To value and support our talented, hard-working and dedicated staff.

“To consider the best long-term provision that is available for Gamlingay.

“On this basis, the Trusts have concluded that Gamlingay cannot support two schools competing for the same relatively small number of pupils and that the wider needs of the community are best served by ensuring the village college site is retained with its grounds, specialist facilities, multi-use games area and the gym.

“The proposals represent the best way forward to provide the long-term security for education provision and community facilities in Gamlingay with one Trust entirely accountable for educational standards and school organisation.”

Rob Watson, Executive Headteacher of Stratton Education Trust said: “We are enormously proud of our achievements at GVC over the last few years but recognise that the situation in the village has changed.  

“We do feel that this proposal has the potential for a rational and sensible approach to building a sustainable school provision across Gamlingay.”

Stephen Munday, chief executive at The Cam Academy Trust, said: “We are very keen to hear from parents and members of the wider community to make sure we get our proposals right, in the interests of pupils, parents and Gamlingay. The Cam Academy Trust already runs three village colleges in the area and has a strong belief in schools being firmly rooted in their communities. We have outlined in our consultation documents the transition arrangements for all pupils and made clear that their needs must come first.”

If the proposals go forward, the Trusts will work with the County Council and the Office of the Regional Schools Commissioner to ensure that there is a seamless transition.