Plans to merge Crowborough schools move forward

Cllr Nick BennettPARENTS and carers, staff and the local community are to be asked for their views on plans to merge two schools in Crowborough and create an all-through primary school.

At a lead member on Monday, Cllr Nick Bennett, Lead member for schools and learning effectiveness, gave the go ahead for the consultation to bring together Whitehill Infant School and Herne Junior School from September 1, 2015.

The two schools are already federated and share the same governing body, but under the proposals Herne Junior School would close and the age range for Whitehill be increased from four to seven years to four to 11 years.

The primary school would continue to use both sites and would have a single governing body and a single headteacher.  All pupils attending Whitehill Infant School or Herne Junior School at the time of change would automatically become part of the primary school.

“Along with the governing body, we believe the benefits of a single all-through primary school outweighs the benefits of having a separate infant and junior school,” said Cllr Bennett.

“As well as greater continuity in teaching, pupil care and development that a single teaching staff and headteacher offers, this proposal will enable the school to use its resources more effectively.”

The new school would be able to build on the progress it has made since the federation between Whitehill Infant and Herne Junior Schools was set up in September 2009.

The consultation will begin on Wednesday, December 17 and run until Wednesday, February 11. An online questionnaire can be completed at

A decision on whether to proceed with the proposal will be made by East Sussex County Council in March 2015 taking into account feedback from the consultation. A final decision on the proposal is likely in June 2015.

In 2012 East Sussex County Council consulted on a proposal to amalgamate the schools in time for the 2013/14 academic year, but the proposal did not proceed due to the governing body’s concerns about the loss of one of the lump sums from their budget.