Protest planned over school changes

Prince William School in Oundle
Prince William School in Oundle

Protesters are planning a march over plans to merge two schools.

The plans, to merge Thrapston Primary School and King John School into a single school, have proved controversial.

The group is planning a protest march in Thrapston on Saturday, March 29, from 11am where it will be demonstrating against the Northamptonshire County Council proposals.

However, Thrapston Primary School’s governing body, in a response published last week, says it is broadly in favour of the switch from three to two tier.

As well as the closure of the King John School, the county council has proposed to close Oundle’s Kings Cliffe School.

Pupils would move directly from Thrapston and Oundle primary schools to Prince William School in Oundle at the end of Year 6.

In their response to the proposals, Thrapston Primary School’s governing body said: “Two-tier systems are more likely to perform well when viewed across the whole of a child’s education.

“We therefore believe that moving to a two-tier system has an important part to play in raising standards and driving for excellence in our local cluster of schools.

“A two-tier system would also deliver other important benefits – particularly ensuring that local children continue to have access to a primary school place in Thrapston, and addressing the declining appeal of working in a three-tier system among talented, ambitious teachers.”

The governors admit they are concerned about the potential for educational standards to temporarily dip during the transition period.

They add: “We have identified two ways of delivering these changes – one based around a primary school in Thrapston with the secondary remaining in Oundle; and the second having both a primary and secondary school in Thrapston.

“We are calling upon the county council to explore both approaches, although our assessment is that the first option is more likely to be sustainable for the long-term.”

One school

Campaigners against the switch to two-tier say they are concerned that, as a growing town, one school would not be enough for Thrapston.

Susie Woods, one of those against the switch, said: “There are 600 homes planned for the town and people on the outside looking at those houses might wonder why there is only one school for the whole town.”