Three Bridges school merger given the green light by council

Plans to merge Three Bridges infant and junior schools into one all-through primary school, will go ahead , it has been decided.

West Sussex County Council launched a public consultation into plans to turn Three Bridges Infant School and Three Bridges Junior School into a single primary school on a split site in October. Both school sites would be used by the new school.

Following the consultation and the publication of statutory notices which saw the majority of respondents in favour, the council has now decided to proceed with the proposal.

The new Three Bridges Primary School will open in September 2013 and will have a capacity of 630 places up from its current combined admission of 450 pupils. It means the school will go from two forms of entry to three.

Peter Griffiths, county council cabinet member for Education and Schools, said £750,000 of building work will be carried out over the summer to expand the school by building new classrooms, to cope with the number of pupils.

It is thought the junior school will expand in three years time, Mr Griffiths added.

Mr Griffiths said the current teacher at the junior school was on a temporary contract after being bought in when the school fell into special measures. The school is now out of special measures and both sites will be managed by the infant school head teacher.

At a public meeting held in November parents raised concerns about children crossing the road to get to each site.

Mr Griffiths said: “Essentially the infant children will remain on their current site and likewise the juniors, but consideration is being given as to how crossing between the two sites can be made easier.”

He said building a bridge across the road would not be considered as bridges can cost as much as £4m.

The proposal to merge both the schools was put forward by the county council because it believes children progress better in all-through primary schools. It also means parents no longer have to reapply for admission to the junior school once their child has finished the infants school, and risk missing out on a junior school place.