9 March 2015

Merger plan for two adjacent Hove schools

Davigdor Infant School and Somerhill Junior School in Hove could be merged to create an all-through primary school for children aged 4-11 with effect from 1 September 2015.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s children and young people committee on Monday 9 March approved the publication of appropriate statutory notices to take the merger process forward.

Public consultation on the proposed merger has shown a high level of support from parents and staff. By the end of the consultation period in February 74 responses had been received in support of the proposal and 26 against. Both sets of governors are also unanimously backing the proposal.

The two schools are on adjacent sites. The council has a policy of considering amalgamation of linked infant and junior schools when one of the headteachers leaves. In this instance the headteacher of Davigdor Infants is retiring. The new school would have four forms of entry.

The chair of the children and young people committee, Councillor Sue Shanks, said: “Davigdor and Somerhill are both successful and popular schools and we believe they can become an outstanding all-through primary school. 

“It’s good to see the level of support for the merger proposal, which I’m sure will bring significant benefits for the children.”

The reasons why the council favours all-through primary schools include:

  • Greater continuity in teaching, pupil care and development
  • Greater continuity in planning the curriculum across the stages of education so that pupils make the best possible progress in learning
  • Greater flexibility that a 4–11 school has in organising classes, deploying teachers and support staff and using resources, including buildings, more effectively
  • Closer contact with parents over a longer period of time and covering the full span of the children’s primary education
  • Practical advantages for parents e.g. same staff development days, the same school policies relating to home links, uniform, codes of conduct
  • Social interaction between younger and older pupils
  • Separate admissions applications at age seven will not be necessary and any uncertainty about transfer between the schools would be removed.