Merton Gets Its First Federated Schools

Wimbledon school to partner with another in Mitcham

Merton is getting its first two federated schools, with the decision to bring together Wimbledon's Singlegate school and William Morris in Mitcham.

Governors at Singlegate Primary School, in South Gardens, and William Morris Primary School, have just given the move the go-ahead, in partnership with Merton Borough Council.

Following consultation with children, parents, governors and teaching staff at both schools, Nathalie Bull, current head of Singlegate, will become executive head teacher of both Singlegate and William Morris from September 1.

One aim is for William Morris pupils to benefit from the education practices which have contributed to the success of Singlegate - rated Outstanding by Ofsted - such as forging strong links between the school and children's families as well as providing positive and ambitious leadership for staff and children alike.

Although the schools, which have more than 450 pupils, will be led by one head teacher and one federated governing body, both Singlegate and William Morris Primary Schools will continue to have their own separate identity, character and budgets. Merton Council will continue to determine admissions to each school.

Under the new agreement, both schools are set to benefit from each other's individual learning environments. Singlegate will gain from William Morris' strength in music and its skills in ensuring children in most need develop alongside their peers.

William Morris will be in a good position to achieve greater educational success in the future, benefiting from the strong leadership and powerful parent-school partnership which has been the backbone to Singlegate's success.

Merton Council cabinet member for education Councillor Peter Walker said: "These are exciting times for both Singlegate and William Morris as the strengths of both schools will come together to make both learning environments stronger.

"This new federation will ensure all the children at both schools are provided with an excellent primary education to motivate and prepare them for their future secondary education and, looking to the long-term, their chosen career paths beyond school."

Head teacher of Singlegate Primary School Nathalie Bull said: "This is the start of innovative partnership working that will enrich learning for all the children, staff and the wider communities."

Chair of Governors at Singlegate Primary School Katy Willison said: "These are exciting times for both Singlegate and William Morris. We believe the federation offers a sustainable and innovative way forward to delivering strong leadership and the best possible education for children at both schools."

Chair of Governors at William Morris Primary School Chris Young said: "This is the start of a new era for both schools - a thrilling opportunity."

Meanwhile, the Government is actively looking at a current anomaly where Merton's schools are duty bound to pay teachers inner London salaries yet are only funded at outer London levels. The news is contained in the response from Schools Minister – Nick Gibb MP – to a written parliamentary question tabled recently by Conservative MP for Wimbledon, Stephen Hammond.

In his answer, Mr Gibb states that the Government is looking to introduce "a clear, transparent and fairer national funding formula" for schools and confirms that "the whole question of the Area Cost Adjustment is being considered as part of the proposals for a national funding formula and will be included in the consultation which will be issued shortly".

Conservative Education Spokesman, Councillor Richard Hilton, said: "Children in this borough have been short changed for far too long. The current funding anomaly costs Merton's schools at least £1.5million a year."

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April 4, 2011