Merger likely between city schools at heart of closure controversy

Angel Road Junior School.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Angel Road Junior School in north Norwich. - Credit: Archant

Plans to move children who vacated a closed junior school site onto a neighbouring infant school will likely result in the two fully merging into an all-through primary, it has emerged.

Since June last year, no children have been taught on-site at Angel Road Junior School in Norwich, after deterioration led to some roof tiles falling and the school being deemed unfit for purpose by its academy trust.

Instead, youngsters have been taught either in spare classrooms at nearby St Clements Hill or in mobile classrooms at Angel Road Infant, its feeder school.

Earlier this year, bosses at the Evolution Academy Trust revealed plans to expand Angel Road Infant to allow all junior school pupils to be taught there from September.

Now, it has been confirmed that the trust plans to eventually merge the two schools into one, all-through primary school - although no timescale has been given for this plan.

The ambition has been revealed to parents in a consultation which runs until Friday, May 27, in which they are asked to express their views on teaching all children across the one site.

Lynsey Holzer, chief executive of Evolution said: "The schools have been run as a federation for some time under one headteacher and this continues to be the case. 

"We may decide to fully merge the schools legally at some point in the future but this is yet to be decided and is not part of this work."

Should the current plans go ahead, it would see the trust press ahead with £1m expansion plans for the infant school and return the junior school to Norfolk County Council.

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The trust has faced calls from councillors to repair the dilapidated junior school site.

However, it claims bringing the site back up to standard would cost around £1.8m - almost double the cost of expanding the infant school.

Norfolk county councillor Steve Morphew.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Denise Bradley.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said: "I question whether this has been the underlying motive all along and if the state of the building has been exaggerated to facilitate that ambition - I have seen no evidence that it is irreparable. 

"It doesn't sound like the trust has been up front with parents or the community. This opens up a lot of questions that will need convincing answers."