Two St Albans schools get green light to amalgamate

St Alban and Stephen Catholic Junior School is looking to merge with the infants and nursery school.

St Alban and Stephen Catholic Junior School is looking to merge with the infants and nursery school. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Two ‘outstanding’ schools in St Albans have been given the go-ahead to join together.

Currently St Alban and St Stephen Catholic Infant and Nursery School takes pupils between the ages of three and seven, and St Alban and St Stephen Catholic Junior School takes children who are aged seven to 11.

The two schools already have a federated governing body, and have been told they can amalgamate from September after the county council's cabinet backed the plans in a meeting on Monday, January 20.

At the meeting, executive member for education, libraries and localism Cllr Terry Douris said the proposal had come from the schools' governing body, who believe a single school will provide a consistent approach to each child's primary education.

Cllr Douris said: "It makes absolute good sense to combine these schools and to merge them together so that there is a single school - offering a through primary education facility for children within that area.

"I think it will also have some financial benefits going forward but that's not the principle reason; it is to provide a more rounded education facility in that area for those children attending these schools."

Technically the plans will involve the closure of the infant and nursery school, and an increase in the age range of the 'junior' school from three to 11.

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Public consultation on the proposals was held between September 30 and October 25 last year, and it was reported to the cabinet that 77 per cent of the 13 responses received as part of the initial consultation were in favour.

During the statutory consultation that followed, between November 8 and December 6, there was just one response in favour and one against.

The objection suggested the plans would increase traffic in the area - pointing to the potential for an additional 120 cars.

In response, officers say the merged schools would continue to offer the same number of school places, so no increase in traffic flow is anticipated.

The plans were initially backed in a meeting of the education, libraries and localism cabinet panel in December, after the governing body said the merge was "in the best interests of the local community and children".