Federation for village schools

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TWO village schools are to join forces as part of a planned federation.

Governors at Woolpit and Rougham primary schools have agreed in principle to the move in which they will share a headteacher as well as staff and resources.

However, each will maintain their separate individual identities.

The transition, from January, was prompted by the forthcoming retirement of Woolpit head Anne O’Connell amid a nationwide shortage of candidates for headships at small village schools.

Rachel Gooch, chairman of governors at Woolpit, said they risked committing ‘significant funds’ to advertising and not finding an experienced replacement for Mrs O’Connell.

She added: “Our starting point was the quality of education we’re providing to our children.

“Having looked at many schools now operating as federations, we believe it is the right decision.

Karen Rees, current head of Rougham, will act as head for both schools and a deputy head will be appointed at Woolpit for day to day operational management.

Governors believe the benefits of a federation include ‘a stronger leadership team and enhanced teaching across specialist areas’ as teachers will be able to lead fewer subjects in greater depth across both schools.

There will also be ‘increased stability and flexibility making them less vulnerable to short term fluctuations in pupil numbers and budget cuts’.

Ian Clarke, chairman of governors at Rougham, said: “We believe the move has the potential to take both schools into an exciting new era and are now consulting with parents.

“We hope to be in a position to confirm the move to a federation by the end of July.”