Sunday, 25 July 2021

School reduces number of classes to save costs

THE number of classes at RAF Benson Primary School is to be reduced from nine to eight as part of a shake-up designed to save costs.

The headteacher and governors say the move has been forced on them by budget constraints.

From the start of the new academic year next month, the school’s year six pupils will move out of a “temporary” classroom into the main building.

The school says it can no longer afford the cost of maintaining the building, which has been used for the past 20 years.

Other classes will move into different rooms and the year one class will now share the reception class building, although the children will remain in separate classes.

In a letter to parents, the chairwoman of governors Audrey Thorpe said the past year had been another “challenging” one for the governors.

Each year the school faced financial cutbacks and the governors, headteacher Steph Fawdry and her senior leadership team had to ensure that money was spent in the best way possible for pupils.

Mrs Thorpe said: “Next year we will see some big changes in school.

“Governors have had to make the decision that we can no longer fund the year six building, with vital repair costs running into tens of thousands of pounds.

“We feel that this money can and must be used in making sure that each and every pupil gets the best education that the school can give them. The result of this is the year six class will be moving into the main school building, resulting in classes across the school moving to different rooms.

“However challenging this task is, it gives us the opportunity to reshuffle and enhance all areas across the school.

“The current reception class building will no longer be — it will become a reception and year one building. This utilises the space available in school in the best way possible.

“Please be assured that although it is in the same building, year one pupils will not be working in the same way as the reception class.

“They will continue to work in exactly the same way following the year one curriculum but in a different classroom.

“This will be divided from reception class, ensuring that both year groups continue to learn in the way they do now.”

Mrs Thorpe said the governors would be seeking grants to help improve the school.

She said: “In the past we have managed to secure funding for the school library, playground equipment and the outside learning area in the current reception classes.

“The memorial garden, which hopefully you have all noticed when walking to the school office, the Playpod, school play therapist and other resources have been funded by a successful bid to the Ministry of Defence Education Support Fund.

“These grants specify how we have to spend the funding gained so careful consideration is needed when we apply.

“We will continue to look for more ways to enhance our school in the future.”

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