Council back tracks on decision to merge Dagenham community and faith schools

Controversial plans to merge a community and a faith school in Dagenham will not go ahead after the council revoked its decision.

The authority’s cabinet agreed to allow Village Infants and William Ford Church of England Junior School, in Ford Road, to remain as two separate schools last night.

It follows a meeting on July 17 at which William Ford’s governing body, who were previously in favour of the merger, said they no longer wanted the amalgamation to proceed.

Councillors had agreed to transform the two schools into one C of E primary school at a cabinet meeting on July 11.

Around 700 people, including Village Infants teachers, parents and governors, protested against the proposals, and 14 teachers staged three one day strikes.

They feared children from non-church going families would be turned away from the voluntary aided faith school in favour of Christian youngsters.

Many of the staff were also unhappy about working for a C of E school and being employed by the diocese, not a local authority.

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In a report put before councillors last night the council said it “remains committed to the principle that a primary school provision would be of benefit to the children and community”.

A formal agreement to revoke the merger decision is due to be made on September 18.