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Schools likely to ‘merge’ as council decision looms

By Connor Steel

HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL are set to approve plans to merge two education facilities in Gosport and fully shut a well-known infant school from January 2025; this update being released over the recent May Bank Holiday weekend as the council considers ways of balancing ‘ongoing high costs’ and low figures for students being educated at the school.

It is expected that Peel Common Infant School and Nursery Unit will be ‘merged’ with the existing Peel Common Junior School to create an ‘all through’ education journey from ages three to eleven. The county council has said this will bring ‘greater continuity in terms of how the cirriculum is delivered’ alongside strengthing the school’s latest financial position.

Recent figures from March 31 show that the infant school was running at a big deflicit of £110,083 and the junior school has a positive balance of £42,123. The infant school and nursery has a “smaller number of pupils” that has dipped over a certain period for a variety of different reasons that prompted county councillors to propose they are merged this way.

The proposals state that the new primary school would accomodate children aged from three to eleven years old within the junior school facility; each ‘year group’ having a class of 30 pupils. This would be achieved by relocating an existing purpose built nursery from another maintained site or via a creation of an extension to this existing junior school facility.

A decision will be made by the Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Edward Heron, at the planned decision day on May 14. If approved the work wost cost an estimated total of approximately £750,000 which would be funded by the children’s service capital programme whilst any “combined primary school” would take effect from January 1, 2025.

Parents have been consulted on these proposals with positive feedback including the reductions in school run time due to having kids in the same facility. But concerns were raised that a “strong foundation for learning” couldn’t be achieved under one roof and a single school; whilst another said their child had recieved an “excellent education” at infant levels.

Readers can explore the ‘full report‘ from Hampshire County Council (dated February 2024) including figures and a list of questions / answers that emerged in consultations; whilst they are encouraged to check for news.

PICTURED BY GOOGLE MAPS: Peel Common Infant School and Nursery Unit could be ‘merged’ under this proposal.