Proposal to amalgamate Moss Park Infant and Junior Schools Consultation

1. Summary of this proposal

The proposal is to amalgamate Moss Park Infant School and Moss Park Junior School. It is proposed this will be achieved by closing Moss Park Infant School and simultaneously extending the age range at Moss Park Junior School from the current to 7 to 11 years, to 3 to 11 years. Therefore it is proposed that the Headteacher of Moss Park Junior School will become the Headteacher of Moss Park Primary School.

The reason this method of amalgamation is being proposed is because from September 2022 there is a vacancy in the headship of Moss Park Infant School. When a Headteacher position at either an infant or junior school becomes vacant, we consider if the site can be effectively managed as one school and if the buildings can be adapted to meet the needs of an amalgamated school at an acceptable cost, should this be required. If this is the case then we commence a period of informal consultation on a proposal to amalgamate.

It is proposed the two schools would form an amalgamated primary school from January 2023.

2. School Vision - One School, One Family, One Vision

This is the initial vision developed by the schools:

Our vision is to create an outstanding 3-11 primary school for our community - a school where all pupils and staff can thrive, feel happy and cared for, included and celebrated throughout their primary school years.

Our situation is unusual in that we have two great schools on one site - both operating independently of each other. We have two distinct groups of talented staff who currently don't have the opportunity to share their best practice.

Just imagine the simplicity of one set of school policies, one uniform, one method of communication and one calendar of events for siblings! It makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

One School

  • One point of contact via the school office and one method of communication
  • One uniform all the way through to pass between sibling and friends
  • One set of policies for our families - attendance, behaviour, inclusion etc.
  • One calendar of special days for charity/own clothes days/cultural events and celebrations
  • One educational journey from 3 -11 with no bumps or big transitions from KS1 to KS2
  • One extensive site with fantastic outdoor spaces and specialist classrooms creating more opportunities for the children in areas such as sport, the arts and environmental science

One Family

  • A shared identity and sense of belonging for siblings and families
  • One large pool of talented staff to make sure your child gets the best education available
  • Teachers who can gain experience across the age ranges, which is great for professional development, job satisfaction and teacher retention
  • One professional to support children with SEND throughout their primary years
  • Opportunities for pupil leadership across the school (playground, reading buddies, sports activities)
  • One link family and parent lead, to support with attendance, early help, parent groups and community events / outreach work
  • The opportunity to develop outdoor learning across the whole primary school
  • A dynamic whole school approach to digital learning to ensure all pupils leave school with the skills and knowledge to navigate and succeed in a technology-driven world

One Vision

  • One set of shared goals with everyone working together in one 'super team'
  • A set of school values, formed by merging our strikingly similar core values Learn, Respect, Achieve and Learn, Love, Laugh, that are understood and lived out by all
  • A fantastic opportunity to work together with our cross-school consultant to create our vision and values within the context of a rights respecting school ethos
  • One strong, unified staff team to drive improvements forward together so that everyone can achieve and everyone can succeed

By sharing the expertise that already exists within both teams and continuing to develop opportunities for the staff, we will ensure that all our children continue to be the heartbeat of the school and that they will continue to develop and grow as lifelong learners. We will take the best features of both schools and learn from each other.

We will use the transition period to consult all of our pupils, staff, governors and parents as well as community partners to enable this vision to evolve.

3. The advantages of amalgamation

We have a long standing strategic aim to amalgamate separate infant and junior schools where this is possible.

The amalgamation of the two phases, infant and junior, will mean the school can develop a clear vision which is shared and understood by all. It will provide opportunities for the development of the curriculum and improve the way it is delivered. While both schools are already committed to working together and making transitional links, the amalgamation will provide a seamless curriculum which is broad, balanced and demonstrates clear continuity and progression in learning. It will increase opportunities for further curriculum enrichment and extra-curricular activities. 

The amalgamation will enable the better use of educational resources including teaching and non-teaching staff. In terms of management and administration, it will avoid duplicating work. 

Having one governing body to drive the school's strategic planning and monitor whole school development will ensure robust accountability. 

The amalgamation will provide a single school at the heart of the local community, offering a consistent vision and ethos, bringing about benefits for children, staff, parents and carers.

Benefits for children

Amalgamation will improve continuity and progression for children's learning along with an increased ability to track long term attainment and progress. It will provide a consistent approach to their learning which will follow them all through their time at the school and help them to understand their place within the school family. 

Within a single primary school, all children - younger and older - will have the opportunity to share the outcomes of their learning. The primary school will provide a nurturing environment where children from a wider age range can work and play together over a longer period of time developing a greater understanding and appreciation of one another's diverse strengths, skills and personalities. This experience has been shown to have a positive impact on social skills, problem solving and relationship development. 

The transition from Year 2 to 3, from infants to juniors, will be smoother for pupils and their families. This will promote an increase in feelings of stability, security and confidence because the children are all in the same school. 

The amalgamated school will provide greater continuity for all children, including the most vulnerable children such as those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and allow children to continue to pursue their chosen areas of interest over time.

The introduction of consistent approaches to inclusion, well-being and behaviour management strategies across all ages would result in clear expectations and a shared ethos which is understood by children, parents and carers throughout the primary and early years stages.

Benefits for parents and carers

The amalgamation will lead to the establishment of more consistent engagement with parents and carers as it gives the ability to foster longer-term family relationships within one school, thereby helping to better understand the needs of each child. A close working partnership between school and home has been shown to have a strong, positive impact on children's learning. 

An amalgamated school will simplify communication between school and parents, especially for parents currently with children in both schools. It will remove duplication and ensure a more cohesive approach for planning events. 

Parents will only need to familiarise themselves with one set of policies and procedures. 

The amalgamated school will enable even stronger partnerships between school and parents with a shared understanding of aspirations and expectations for teaching and learning.

Benefits for staff

A single primary school will offer increased opportunities for existing staff to develop their professional interests and skills. It will also assist in the recruitment and retention of staff by providing greater professional opportunities.

The amalgamation will provide opportunities to increase the range of expertise and experience of teaching staff. It will also allow for staff to join together and share their expertise with one another on specific areas and projects, which will strengthen staff knowledge of the full primary age range and increase the effectiveness of what we deliver.

The staff will have more resources and space at their disposal to support curriculum planning and delivery and enrichment activities. 

4. Human resources

The proposal is to discontinue Moss Park Infant School and to expand the age range of Moss Park Junior School to enable it to accommodate the displaced pupils and become Moss Park Primary School. The Junior School would retain its original school number as it is not a new school, even if its name has changed. Therefore it is proposed the Headteacher of Moss Park Junior School will become the Headteacher of Moss Park Primary School.

Both schools are community schools, which means that Trafford Council are the employer of all staff. There are no proposed changes to this; Trafford Council will remain the employer of all staff, and there are therefore no TUPE implications. Staff terms and conditions will remain the same. Other than the removal of one Headteacher position, there are no proposed changes to the staffing structure within this amalgamation proposal.

Support is available to staff throughout this process from their Line Manager and also the Trade Unions. Counselling support is available through the school's Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

5. Financial implications

Revenue

The proposed amalgamation will reduce the overall cost to the Dedicated Schools Grant which will result in an adjustment through the funding formula meaning there is no impact to Council's revenue budgets.

Each school currently receives a lump sum allocation as part of the delegated Schools' budget.

This illustration is based on the 2022/23 schools operational guidance and using the 2022/23 lump sum amount of £121,962 per school.

For the 2023/24 financial year, the schools will receive £243,924 (2x lump sums) between them. This will be broken down as follows:

2023/24 financial year payment breakdown

Infant School

£91.472

   (£121,962 x 9/12 April to December)

Junior School

£91.472

   (£121,962 x 9/12 April to December)

Primary School

£60,980

   (£243,924 x 3/12 January to March)

Total

£243,924

 

For the 2024/25 financial year, the primary school will receive £207,335. This is the equivalent of 85% of the predecessor schools' lump sums, calculated as follows:

2024/25 financial year payment breakdown

Primary School

£121,962

 

Additional Payment

£85,373

Calculated as ((£121,962 x 2) x 85%) - £121,962

Total

£207,335

 

The local authority can also apply to provide a second year of protection. The most recent application to ESFA recommended by the Schools Funding sought 60% lump sum protection in the second year. The ESFA consider applications on a case-by-case basis.

PE and sport premium

PE and sport premium is calculated and allocated annually by the DfE. It is currently calculated so that schools with 17 or more eligible pupils receive £16,000 plus an additional payment of £10 per pupil.

As a result of this proposal, Moss Park Primary School would be allocated one £16,000 lump sum and a £10 per pupil allocation based on the number on roll. This represents an overall reduction of £16,000 as previously both the Infant and Junior Schools received a lump sum amount.

Revenue savings

An amalgamated primary school will achieve savings in the following areas:

  • reduction in Headteacher salary costs
  • one purchase of certain services rather than two, such as governor support and human resources

Capital

Devolved formula capital (DFC) allocation

DFC is allocated to schools annually by the DfE using a formula. Each school is allocated a lump sum of £4,000 and an amount per pupil based on the phase of education.

As a result of this proposal, Moss Park Primary School would be allocated one £4,000 lump sum and a per pupil allocation based on the number on roll. This represents an overall reduction of £4,000 as previously both the Infant and Junior Schools received a lump sum amount.

Schools condition allocation (SCA)

SCA is allocated to the local authority annually by the DfE. Our School Asset Management Plan information combined with Area Surveyor knowledge is used to prioritise and allocate this funding on an annual basis. The funding process for allocating SCA for condition improvements for school buildings will remain unchanged as a result of this proposal. There is no SCA funding linked with this proposal.

Basic need funding

Basic Need funding is calculated and allocated to the local authority annually by the DfE. This funding is for the creation of additional of school places. This amalgamation proposal does not include an expansion of pupil number and therefore is not eligible for basic need funding.

6. The consultation process

The first stage in the process is consultation with interested parties. These are:

  • the governing bodies of both schools
  • families of pupils at both schools
  • teachers and other staff at both schools
  • any other LA likely to be affected by the proposals, in particular neighbouring authorities where there may be significant cross-border movement of pupils
  • the governing bodies, teachers and other staff of any other school that may be affected
  • families of any pupils at any other school who may be affected by the proposals
  • any trade unions who represent staff at the school; and representatives of any trade union of any other staff at schools who may be affected by the proposals
  • MPs whose constituencies include the schools that are the subject of the proposals or whose constituents are likely to be affected by the proposals
  • any other interested organisation or person that the proposer think are appropriate

We want the consultation period to provide enough time for everyone to express their views and for these views to be properly considered. Good practice is a period of 6 weeks, mainly within term time, from the date of the publication of the proposal.

The period of consultation will commence on 17 June 2022 until 28 July 2022. We will consider and respond to all comments and questions and post those comments and responses on our website. 

At the end of the period of consultation, all the feedback will be included in a report to the Executive Member for consideration. If they take the decision to proceed to the next stage, we will publish a statutory notice of our intention to discontinue Moss Park Infant School and simultaneously extend the age range at Moss Park Junior School.

The publication of the notice would mark the start of a four-week representation period. Within one week of the publication of the statutory notice there is a requirement for us to publish a full proposal and provide a copy upon request to any interested party. 

A copy of the full proposal will also be sent to the Department for Education (DfE) and to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA). This representation stage allows people to make comments.

At the end of the representation period, all the feedback will be included in a report to the Trafford Council Executive for a final decision.

This is the proposed timetable highlighting the key stages in the process:

key stages in the process
StageActionDate

1

Informal consultation begins including publication of the proposal.

Consultation begins 17 June and runs until 28 July 2022

 

Full report including consultation comments and local authority responses published online.

Decision by Executive Member to proceed or not to proceed to Stage 2.

w/c 29 August 2022

2

Publication of statutory notices and the final full proposal commences the statutory 4 week representation period (formal consultation).

8 September 2022

3

Final Decision by Trafford Council Executive (must be made within 2 months of end of representation period).

w/c 31 October 2022

 

Implementation date

January 2023

     

7. Have your say

You can ask any questions and help shape the proposal by giving your ideas and comments in one of the following ways:

Online: using our consultation hub

Email: school.admissions@trafford.gov.uk

Write to: School Admissions Team, Trafford Council, Waterside, Sale M33 7ZF