PARENTS have welcomed plans to change Astwood Bank First School into a primary school.
The verdict comes after headteacher Debbie Yarnold announced that the Church Road site is looking to expand to include Year 5 and 6 children.
In a letter to parents, she said the move followed Ridgeway Middle School’s decision to become a secondary school.
If the plans are approved, the school will offer Year 5 places from 2016, however she recognises that additional classrooms would be needed to provide the extra spaces.
More than 75 per cent of parents said they were in favour of the changes following a consultation last year.
Mum Nicola Hunter said she was pleased with the proposal after recently relocating to the area.
“I’m really pleased with this school and it means all our children can stay here for longer which is great for us.”
Suzie Danks said she was also happy with Astwood Bank becoming a primary school, but was worried about the congestion on the roads.
She said: “It does make sense and I know the children are really happy here. I’m all for it as long as the changes across the town, and particularly at Ridgeway, don’t affect their education and they have the right teachers.”
But Louisa Dare, whose son is in Year 4, said she was annoyed Ridgeway were going ahead with the changes after her son had been granted a place there.
She added: “What I’m also worried about is what happens after they are 16. Ridgeway won’t have a sixth form, so is there going to be enough places elsewhere?”
Other parents elsewhere in Redditch have also voiced their concerns.
Nicki Farnes, Rebecca Hyder and Sharon Harvey, who created the Facebook group Redditch School Changes, said they were shocked and disappointed that Tudor Grange and Ridegway were allowed to make changes without pyramid agreement or public support.
“We hope that this difficult news will only serve to strengthen the educational relationships between the other schools in Redditch and that they will be able to lead us forward into a future that gives parents the choice to keep their children within the very successful three-tier system of which Redditch is so rightly proud.” said the group in a statement.
Mother of four, Rachel Evans, said: “There is no doubt in my mind this proposal will destabilise the fantastic school system we currently have here in Redditch.”
Mother of four, Claire Davies, added: “As parents, we have no idea what the future holds for our children as they try to work their way through a disjointed mess of an educational system that this decision has left us with.
“But my overall feeling now is one of vehement determination to uncover how such a decision has been made, despite mass objections.”
What do you think? Write to The Redditch Standard, Webb House, Church Green East, Redditch, B98 8BP or email: email@example.com .