Norwich school merger plan attacked by county councillor

A county councillor attacked plans to merge two primary schools last night, labelling the proposed site as 'totally unsuitable' and claiming the consultation was flawed.

St John's Infant School on Heigham Road is set to merge with St Thomas More Junior School on Jessopp Road by September 2013.

The merger will mean pupils from St John's will join St Thomas More, prompting fears over traffic on Jessopp Road.

Bert Bremner, Labour county councillor for University ward, claimed the church and schools had not told him about the consultation which he described as a 'major failure'.

In a letter to the Evening News he said he supported the educational arguments for merging the schools but argued the site was not suitable.

He said the school would not have a local catchment area and many children travelled from outside Norwich, from North Walsham to Wymondham, to go to the schools each day.

St Thomas More's travel plan states it does not have a local catchment area and 'a significant' number of children arrive at school by car.

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The former teacher, who was responsible for Mile Cross Middle School's travel plan, said: 'The educational benefits of merging together as one school are absolutely incontrovertible. All the arguments they have put in are absolutely right. But at the moment there is a problem with traffic on Jessopp Road. A lot of residents have written in to complain about the traffic.

'We have got a situation where junior pupils could be dropped off, whereas with an infant school they (the parents) will be pulling up, parking and walking the kids in.'

In a letter sent to parents at St Thomas More by governors and acting headteacher Kim Payne, concerns over traffic were addressed last October.

At the time the school said it was pushing back the proposed merger to September 2013 to 'prepare for a seamless transition to the new school'.

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