Excitement as Chichester school is ‘finally in control of its own future'
An all-through primary school has been formed in Chichester meaning a number of children ‘get to remain in the school that they love’.
It was announced in June that Rumboldswhyke Infants’ School had been saved from closure after the Department for Education said it would back plans to academise with Bishop Luffa as its sponsor.
Lisa Harris, who took over as headteacher in January, said the school ‘received the wonderful news’ on Monday that the application, as part of the Bishop Luffa Learning Partnership, to become an all-through primary from September, had been approved.
“The idea is we go from reception all the way up to 18-years-old,” Mrs Harris said.
“It’s a big task but it’s really exciting. For the parents of children currently in Year 2, it’s been quite an uncertain time for them.
"Until Monday, they didn’t know if they could stay on until September or if they would need to go to another local school so they are absolutely delighted.”
Mrs Harris said the academisation will allow primary and secondary pupils and teachers to work together and share facilities.
She added: “We are revamping the school and reviewing all the learning areas. We have a brand new library area and have painted murals on the wall. We have partnered with Business2Schools and had laptops and furniture delivered. We hope to provide every child in school a laptop.
“The whole building is going to be redecorated and refreshed to give us all a brand new start.
"It’s so exciting as not many opportunities like this come up. I drive to school every day and think how lucky I am.
"The community is wonderful. The staff are wonderful. The support from Bishop Luffa is amazing.”
Bishop Luffa headteacher Austen Hindman wrote to parents and carers on Monday to tell them that Rumboldswhyke is ‘finally in control of its own future’.
He said any Year 2s ‘who would like to stay with us, can now do so’.
Speaking to the Observer, he added: “This decision means so much for the children in Year 2, who will now get to remain in the school that they love.
"The partnership between the two schools is helping both schools to flourish.
"Students and teachers from Bishop Luffa are already working with the children at Rumboldswhyke, leading assemblies and Forest Schools: one of our Year 11 students has even been teaching the children sign language.
"We think that the community will benefit from having a small primary school with a distinctive Christian ethos.”
Chichester councillor Sarah Sharp was a key part of the campaign, against West Sussex County Council, to keep the school open.
The former Rumboldswhyke parent said supporters are delighted that their ‘huge efforts’ over a year ‘have paid off with such a great outcome’.
She added: “It is wonderful to see that Rumboldswhyke School will continue to play a vibrant role in the life of our community.
“We need to always remember the need to keep community facilities and keep local links to strengthen community ties and reduce the need to travel out of area.”