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The proposals are intended to bring about significant educational improvements for the town and wider area.
North Yorkshire County Council is consulting on plans to create an all-through 3-11 primary school on the junior school site with a single Headteacher and governing body. The infant and junior schools have shared an Executive Headteacher since 2016 and school governors agree that a single school would ensure consistent, high quality education.
The vacant infant site would be used for a Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision as a satellite of Mowbray School, which is a North Yorkshire County Council special school in Bedale. Mowbray School caters for a wide range of complex needs, and the creation of a satellite school in Ripon forms part of the county council’s strategic plan for more local special educational needs and disability provision.
The initial phase would provide up to 30 places in 2019/20 in the satellite school. This would rise to 60 places by 2021/22.
Jonathan Tearle, Headteacher of Mowbray School, said:
Over the past five years the requests for pupil places from the Ripon and Harrogate areas, has risen significantly and we are no longer able to meet this demand at our school in Bedale.
The setting up of a primary age satellite provision, will mean that we can meet the needs of more children and by establishing a specialist provision in Ripon, it will mean children can be educated closer to where they live. The standard of the provision and expertise of the staff, will mirror that of our current school. Working closely with local authority officers and families, we will together identify potential pupils who will be able to attend the satellite provision, those pupils are expected to have needs in communication and interaction. The benefits to the community will be significant, ensuring the needs of all children are better met and the creation of additional employment opportunities linked with the school.
Claire Rowett, acting Headteacher of Moorside Infant and Junior Schools said:
Developing a primary school can build upon the strengths of each separate Infant and Junior school, to ensure that learning experiences are enhanced, enabling even higher standards of education to be provided.
As far as the staff and governors at Moorside are concerned, the operational day to day running of the Infant and Junior schools is our priority throughout this process – our children’s current education and development comes first. North Yorkshire are supporting us with the physical amalgamation process. This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and our improved facilities will benefit every child now and in the future
Every school must provide a curriculum which is broad and balanced in content and relevant to all learners’ needs. A child’s learning journey should be seamless throughout their time in school, building on experiences, skills, knowledge and understanding as they progress. As a primary school, we would be in a stronger position to be able to plan for both continuity and progression in learning, delivering the curriculum in a continuous and coherent way, from the Foundation Stage through to the end of Key Stage 2.
A public consultation meeting to cover both proposals was held last week at Moorside Infant School, followed by an additional public meeting about specialist satellite provision earlier this week at Mowbray School, Bedale.
Both consultation documents can be found on the North Yorkshire County Council website www.northyorks.gov.uk/consultations where people can submit their views up until 9 November 2018.