Norton Hill Primary School - Letter to Parents, 16th April 2020

Norton Hill Primary School - Letter to Parents, 16th April 2020

Dear Prospective Parent/Carer

You will have recently received a letter from the Local Authority admissions team that informed you that Norton Hill Primary School may not be completed in time for opening in September in the its new building. There has been a delay as a result of the Covid19 lockdown and we anticipate the school building will be ready by the end of October.

As a result of this delay to the building works, the Department for Education were not legally allowed to sign the funding agreement between the Midsomer Norton Schools’ Partnership and central government. To compound this issue, the Covid19 virus outbreak coincided with the timing of school place offers from the Local Authority. The date by which Local Authorities must inform parents about school places is statutory and cannot be moved. As a result, the Local Authority were duty-bound to write to you and offer another school place because technically, the agreement between central government and the MNSP Trust had not been signed.

We are pleased to confirm that the Department for Education has now signed the funding agreement for the new Norton Hill Primary School and it will open in September 2020. As the
building will not be completed until the end of October, we have commissioned rooms and facilities at Longvernal Primary School in Midsomer Norton. These will be used as a temporary provision for the reception children starting at Norton Hill Primary School. This is an ideal solution given the delay, for the following reasons:

  1. Longvernal is an excellent school which has recently been expanded and has space for additional children.
  2. There is a brand new nursery provision and outdoor area for children.
  3. Longvernal has an established forest school provision just like the facilities at Norton Hill Primary.
  4. Parents will be able to benefit from wrap-around care at the school from 7.30am-6.00pm if required.
  5. Facilities at the school have been refurbished and it is effectively a new school inside having had £750,000 spent to remodel the school last year.
  6. Kerrie Courtier, Norton Hill Primary Headteacher, was Headteacher at Longvernal and the governing body of Longvernal, were also overseeing the new school until it is large enough to have its own governing body.

We have decided against a temporary block on the Norton Hill Primary School site because of the associated health and safety risks a live building site would create for 25 Reception children and staff.

Although this is a slight hiccup in our plans, we are determined that the school should open and look forward to moving into the new accommodation by the end of October, all being well. We hope that all parents and children will still want to be part of this amazing new school and we will, when allowed, set up a visit to Longvernal to show you the school facilities and answer any further questions.

The Local Authority will continue to manage the admissions process and you will receive a further letter from them confirming the school is now opening in September. When you access the on-line admissions portal you will see the following message:

‘Norton Hill Primary 1st preference applicants only - If you had applied for a place at Norton Hill Primary as a 1st preference, the funding agreement has now been signed and the school will open from September. If you still wish to be considered for a place at this school then please select 'Other Decision' against the offered school then add into the supporting text that you wish to name Norton Hill Primary to be considered as your 1st preference.’

We are sorry for the confusion or worry the letter from the Local Authority may have caused. The structures and laws within which we work caused this lack of clarity. However, please be reassured, the school will open, albeit in a temporary home, but everything you signed up for will be replicated for the first month or two at the Longvernal site.

If you would like to discuss any concerns or issues with us, please do not hesitate to contact me via my PA, Sharon Crane, or Kerrie Courtier, on the email addresses below. If you would like to have a telephone conversation with Kerrie please forward your telephone number in order that she can contact you directly - kcourtier@msnpartnership.com, scrane@somervaleschool.com.


Yours sincerely

 

Alun Williams
CEO