A BARRY school merger is one step closer following a controversial council decision.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council met last Monday and approved a proposal to join Cadoxton Primary School with Cadoxton Nursery in September 2016.
When the merger plans began in October 2015, campaigners fought to keep the nursery as a stand-alone facility, arguing that an amalgamation would be damaging to the nursery pupils.
Nursery school parent governor, Soo Foley, started a petition that attracted 416 signatures, of which 76.2% were against the merger plans.
However, the Vale cabinet believes that the benefits of the plan outweigh the disadvantages. They will publish a statutory public notice, which will give the public 28 days to respond to the plans between April 11 and May 9.
The merger could save the council £86,000 per year, with the majority of this saving coming through changes to staffing. The new staffing structure will be subject to consultation with the two schools and relevant trade unions.
Out of the 15 primary schools in Barry, Cadoxton Primary is the only school not to have an integrated nursery provision.
The Report of the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools, published on 7 March 2016, says: “Incorporating the nursery school at Cadoxton into the primary school offers a more efficient and sustainable model of delivery.
“The amalgamation of the two schools on their current sites would provide savings predominantly through the streamlining of the leadership, governance and management of the schools by way of a single headteacher, leadership team and governing body.”
A proper six-week consultation period was completed between January 4 and February 15, 2016, where parents, governors and staff were invited to express their views on the merger.
The key concerns raised included the loss of the nursery’s “community centred ethos” and worry about the wellbeing of the nursery children “as a result of having shared leadership and potential changes in staff responsibilities”.
Many of the nursery school parents have praised staff for helping the school achieve excellent results. They have concerns about the “potential staff implications” and whether there will be a job for everybody at the amalgamated school.
Those in favour of the proposal believe there will be greater continuity for children in a school that ranges from three to 11 years.Other benefits include shared resources and greater consistency for parents with regards to uniforms, inset days and school holidays.