Merger plan for school put on hold

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COUNCILLORS have deferred a decision over the controversial merger of two schools to allow time to consider ‘important new information’.

Speaking at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, at which the merger of Marshlands at Moorends and Thorne’s West Road Primary was up for discussion, mayor Peter Davies said further information had been made available.

“This needs to be taken fully into account before a decision is made. Anything we say this morning would be ludicrous,” he said.

The matter will be tabled again at the next cabinet meeting, due to take place in two weeks.

Meanwhile, Marshlands supporters claim that although the school was indeed placed in special measures in February, a further monitoring report conducted by Ofsted inspectors as recently as June said the school had shown ‘satisfactory improvement’.

The proposal presented to the council would extend capacity of West Road Primary from 340 pupils to 490, and would have recommended starting public consultation on New Year’s Eve this year.

A report before the cabinet said that Marshlands, the smallest school in the Thorne area with 263 places but only 128 pupils currently on roll, had failed to show improvement over a number of years. It had also notched up the worst key stage two SATs results for 11-year-olds in Doncaster with just over one third of pupils reaching the benchmark level four standard in English and maths.

The proposal would be for the merged school to operate on both sites, which are only 0.18 of a mile apart.