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End of term, end of an era

PUBLISHED: 19:09 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:25 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

Thousands of Great Yarmouth families are gearing up for the final phase of a schools' restructuring to send pupils to high school at the age of 11.

The £80m re-organisation means amalgamations and closures as education chiefs seek to create as many all-through primaries as possible.

Thousands of Great Yarmouth families are gearing up for the final phase of a schools' restructuring to send pupils to high school at the age of 11.

The £80m re-organisation means amalgamations and closures as education chiefs seek to create as many all-through primaries as possible. For many the start of the summer holidays means the end of an era and uncertainty ahead as pupils prepare to start new schools in September.

But Norfolk County Council schools' development officer Alison Cunningham was keen to stress the benefits describing it as an “historic moment” while conceding excitement would be mixed with sadness as some schools close and new ones open.

She said: “People do not like change and this goes for staff and parents. But the fact of the matter is that once change is effective and it's being done for the sake of the children to improve outcome then everybody is usually happy. The children themselves tend to take it in their stride.

“As a result of re-organisation we have been able to create many more all through primary schools instead of having a move from infant to junior which means fewer transfers. That is the preferred option for the council and most parents.

“We want to celebrate the fact that these schools are open. There are six schools that are closing and it's a very emotive time but in September new schools are going to be opening and that is a very exciting time. There will be some sadness this week, that's only natural. But in six weeks time we will be looking forward with excitement to these new schools opening.

The Caister, Yarmouth and Gorleston area is the last part of Norfolk to do away with middle schools and having pupils move to high school at age 12.

Mrs Cunningham added: “As from September pupils across the whole of Norfolk will transfer to secondary school at age 11. Its quite an historic moment.

Stalham, Ormesby and Martham areas re-organised last year.

Parents at Breydon Middle and Waveney First in Belton had their first look at the new Moorlands Primary School on the Breydon site, with some apprehensive about the changes.

In Gorleston the two Peterhouse schools are set to open as a primary on a split site, but Mrs Cunningham announced that next year it will receive government funding from a new pot, enabling the school to come together on one site.

Meanwhile Herman first and middle have amalgamated with some new building to create a new primary school. The changes have meant job losses for some, but no compulsory redundancies.

The aim of re-organisation is to chime with key stages with primary or first and junior schools responsible for stages one and two and high schools for three and four.

Most of the building has been at high schools in order to take year sevens. Suffolk is set to follow Norfolk's example in the next few years.

The past few weeks has seen the development of a mural at Caister Middle to commemorate the end of an era for the school as it becomes a junior school in September. Pupils along with the help of art teacher Mrs Lekerman produce a symbolic mural to commemorate 1979-2008 of Caister Middle School. With a helpful donation from Topps Tiles the mural has transformed into the Caister Lifeboat with pupils sailing on board under the blazing sunshine along with the crabs and fish of the sea. Pupils helped produce this masterpiece to remember the middle school and it is the feature on the front cover of their Year Book.

Headteacher Mike O'Reilly said: “The mural will act as a lasting memory for all the children who have attended Caister Middle School.”

Schools in the Caister area - changes from September:

Caister First School becomes and infant school for three to seven year olds

Caister Middle School becomes a junior school for seven to 11 year olds

Caister High School will take children at 11 plus rather than12 plus

Schools in Great Yarmouth - changes from September

Alderman Swindell First School becomes an infant school for three to seven year olds

Northgate St Andrews First School becomes and infant school for four to seven year olds

St Georges First School becomes an infant school for three to seven year olds

North Denes Middle School becomes a junior school for seven to 11 year olds

St Nicholas Priory Middle School becomes a junior school for seven to 11 year olds

Greenacre First and Middle becomes a primary for three to 11 year olds

Great Yarmouth High School will take children at 11 plus rather than 12 plus

Schools in the Gorleston area - changes from September

Southtown First School becomes an infant school for four to seven year olds

Wroughton First School becomes an infant school for four to seven year olds

Cliff Park First School becomes an infant school for four to seven year olds

Cliff Park Middle School becomes a junior school for seven to 11 year olds

Edward Worlledge Middle School becomes a junior school for seven to 11 year olds

Hillside First School becomes a primary school for three to 11 year olds

Homefield First School becomes a primary school for three to 11 year olds

Woodlands Middle School becomes a primary school for four to 11 year olds

Peterhouse First and Peterhouse Middle becomes a primary school for three to 11 year olds

Herman First and Herman Middle become a primary school for three to 11 year olds

Waveney First and Breydon Middle become a primary school for three to 11 year olds on the Breydon site

Lynn Grove High School will take children at 11 plus rather than 12 plus

Oriel High School will take children at 11 plus rather than 12 plus

Stradbroke County Primary and Hopton Primary Schools are phasing the changes and are growing to become primary schools for four to 11 year olds.

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