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Change of name for National Junior School as it and Harrowby Infant School are set to become Grantham primaries

Two infant schools and a junior school in Grantham are all set to transition into primaries by 2023, with one school undergoing a change of name.

As reported last week, Little Gonerby Infant School will become a primary school, and following in its footsteps are the National Junior School and Harrowby Infant School.

Gareth Smith, executive headteacher of both National and Harrowby, believes there are “really exciting times” ahead.

Gareth Smith, executive headteacher. (59654497)
Gareth Smith, executive headteacher. (59654497)

He said: “I think it enables us to provide a lot more for both of these schools because certainly, as we are all aware historically, National has always been a junior school.

“So, I think one of the most exciting things for me is for all the investment that we are going to put into National and actually seeing for the first time in hundreds of years catering for those younger children and being able to build up a real family within that school, likewise of Harrowby as well.

“It is very much about parental choice because we might still have parents that want to transfer to National after Year 2 at Harrowby, but again it’s about being able to develop that whole school approach for all schools and I think that is truly exciting.

“The fact that Little Gonerby is doing the same, it is very exciting to continue to work with Little Gonerby in that way. It’s about supporting our local communities. It really is an exciting time.”

Jackie Waters-Dewhurst CEO of Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (59654478)
Jackie Waters-Dewhurst CEO of Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (59654478)

Admissions for the new age groups are now open and close in January 2023, ahead of a September 2023 start.

The Lincoln Anglican Academy Trust (LAAT) oversees the National Junior and Harrowby Infant schools, whereas Infinity Academies Trust oversees Little Gonerby.

Jackie Waters-Dewhurst, CEO of LAAT, added: “We have a real passion for this community and we’re investing around £700,000 in making sure that both schools are fit for 21st century education, which isn’t easy when you’ve got a Victorian school, but also fit for the whole age range of primary.

“So we’re really investing in this community to make sure these schools provide what they need to for the pupils. It’s about transforming lives.

“Parents will now be free to request a place at any of the three schools and they’ll work closely together as they always have done as schools in one single area always work closely together.

“The fact they are a part of different trusts will not be a barrier to that.

“What’s important is we believe in parent choices. For emotional, historic, educational or for whatever reason, if they decide they still want their Year 3 children to move to National, as has been the case for generations now, that option will still be available to them.”

The National school will also be changing its name to St Wulfram’s National Church of England Primary School to reflect its close links with St Wulfram’s church, while retaining the historically important name of National.

Mr Smith was a previous student at both Harrowby Infant and National. He said: “I was a pupil at both Harrowby and National so I can remember transferring to National. I’ve still got very fond memories of both schools and I can remember what it was like.

“I think to see that transformation moving forward is going to be absolutely amazing and it’s so exciting to be part of that as well.”

Ms Waters-Dewhurst added: “This is a local boy going away, learning his craft and becoming one of the most experienced executive headteachers within the trust and returning to his roots for the transformation for these pupils.”

Both Ms Waters-Dewhurst and Mr Smith believe this transition will bring many benefits to prospective pupils and their parents in terms of travelling and children’s education.

Ms Waters-Dewhurst said: “For parents trying to get children to two different schools 20 minutes apart has for a very long time been really difficult. Now they can, if they choose, have all of their children in one school.

“There’s not that dreadful morning dash and trying to split yourself into one set of uniforms, one set of processes, one set of staff to get to know and one school family to belong to. The other is the educational side of it. Infant schools and junior schools have been around for a long time but where local authorities can and where academy trusts can, they change that model.

“That’s because that change in key stage where it goes from one school to another can cause a plateau in a child’s educational progress as they struggle to get to know new children, new systems, new processes, new staff, new buildings, new ways of doing things. So it removes that.

“It also means a child is known from the beginning to the end and that educational journey is known by staff in one school, which is more effective then handing on notes.”

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