Barking school U-turn over mixed age classes after parents’ petition

Valentino outside the school with the petition

Valentino outside the school with the petition - Credit: Archant

A primary school has made a U-turn on plans to mix age groups of pupils after angry parents launched a protest petition.

St Joseph's Primary School in Barking

St Joseph's Primary School in Barking - Credit: Archant

Parents of children at St Joseph Catholic Primary, Broadway, Barking, say they received a letter just days before the summer holiday started stating that Year 5 and 6 pupils would be sharing classes from September.

Some of these parents, who were all against the plans and unhappy at the lack of consultation, launched a protest petition and collected 44 signatures.

They also sent letters to the headteacher, board of governors and the council’s director of education asking for the changes to be delayed until a consultation with parents had taken place.

Today the headteacher of the school Emlin Bunn said the school had “reviewed its decision following concerns raised by some parents and consultation with the local education authority”.

“Pupils will start the new academic year in their respective year groups,” she said.

Before the U-turn, parent Valentino Makambo, whose son, also called Valentino, will start Year 6 in September, said: “We were never asked what we thought of these changes, we were just told in this letter that they were going ahead.”

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Mr Makambo added he and other parents believed mixing age groups could have an adverse affect on the teaching of both years, but particularly Year 6.

“The Year 6 pupils need to focus on their SATs. How can teachers give the same level of attention to Year 6 pupils when they have to also teach a Year 5 curriculum? I don’t understand why they’re doing this.”

Ms Bunn added: “Ideas to make improvements that will benefit the school and provide a greater challenge for all children while nurturing a healthy learning environment will be discussed with parents in the new school year.”