Royston schools merger: More details on new Greneway, Roysia and Meridian through school revealed

The new school will be in Garden Walk where Greneway and Meridian schools are currently, with Laura

The new school will be in Garden Walk where Greneway and Meridian schools are currently, with Laura Rawlings, pictured, as headteacher. - Credit: Archant

More details on the proposals which would see Greneway, Roysia and Meridian schools in Royston merged into one through school for children aged nine to 18 have been released, as the consultation opens today.

Royston Schools Academy Trust – which governs all three schools – is consulting on the plans for one site for children in Year 5 to 13, with Greneway and Roysia’s head Laura Rawlings as headteacher.

Under the plans, the new school would be located in Garden Walk, where Greneway and Meridian schools are currently and sixth form provision would be delivered through a partnership between Meridian and Baldock’s The Knights Templar School.

In the consultation document, RSAT states: “It is recognised that the school’s location will have the greatest impact on current Roysia parents and pupils.

“Some pupils will have shortened journeys to schools and some will be longer. The ‘DFE Home-to-school travel and transport statutory guidance’ relating to safe ‘walking distance’ is defined as three miles if aged between eight and 16.

“This proposal will lead to an increase in pupil numbers attending the Garden Walk sites and related traffic at certaintimes of the day.

“RSAT has met with Hertfordshire County Council in relation to traffic on the road. A transport assessment was conducted which considered the impact of additional school provision and this has been taken into consideration in this proposal.

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“To accommodate middle and upper years on the Garden Walk sites will allow us to take advantage of economies of scale and be efficient with our resources.

“RSAT is exploring with the county council any resources released by the Burns Road site and how this can best be used to benefit the new school.”

Also part of the rationale behind the merger is that Greneway, Roysia and Meridian all spend more money than they receive annually.

RSAT said: “Irrespective of pupil numbers, our schools continue to provide specialist teaching staff, even where there are relatively few pupils taking advantage of this.

“Running costs of the premises – such as heating, lighting, cleaning and maintenance of the buildings do not change as pupil numbers on roll do.

“All three schools are rated as ‘Good’ by Ofsted. However the financial challenges posed by running three separate schools on three sites means that the quality of provision will become increasingly difficult to maintain, let alone improve.”

A new uniform for pupils was also discussed in the report – which will be implemented via a transition period of up to two years.

RSAT said: “As a newly formed school, we expect there to be changes to uniform. While no decision has been made about a new uniform design, the academy trust is committed to a transition period of up to two years with flexibility for current pupils in terms of uniform.

“Input will be sought from parents and pupils linked to uniform design.”

Questions were raised at an evening of parents’ meetings with the RSAT panel about staff jobs as a result of the merger and, in the proposal document, RSAT states: “The academy trust is committed to using the strengths and expertise of staff from all three schools.

“We recognises that this is a period of uncertainly and we are working hard to minimise this.

“If approved and implemented, those individuals impacted will be fully consulted and unions will be engaged throughout. Professional input will be provided by Herts for Learning’s human resources.”

The consultation will run for six weeks from today until 4pm on Friday, December 1. To read the consultation document in full or to submit your feedback log on to any of the three schools’ websites or pick one up from the school offices.

There are also two drop in sessions for parents to seek clarification or for them to provide further feedback. The first is at Roysia in Burns Road on November 7 from 5.30pm to 7pm, and the second is being held at the same time on November 9 at Meridian.

After the consultation, RSAT has said the analysis of the feedback will inform any final proposal submitted to the Department for Education.