Stoke and Allhallows Primary Academies Merger Update

Leigh Academies Trust Logo

Dear Parents/Carers, 

I trust this letter finds you and your families well. 

I write further to my letter dated 20th April in regards to the Trust’s proposed merger. I am pleased to confirm that following referral to Baroness Berridge, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, the Trust received confirmation yesterday afternoon, 7th June, in a letter from Claire Burton, the Regional Schools’ Commissioner for the South East and South London, that the Minister has given her full support to the Trust’s proposal to amalgamate the two academies from 1st September 2021. 

We will therefore be proceeding with the merger as outlined to you in our consultation earlier this year and supported by 87% of respondents. We will be using the site and buildings at Allhallows Primary Academy as the location for the newly merged academy. Concurrently, the Stoke Primary Academy site will close from the 31st August 2021. 

The letter received yesterday afternoon from the Minister confirmed her support for the change and accepted that, “Stoke Primary Academy remaining open is not sustainable”. The school currently has fewer than thirty pupils on its roll and just six parents gave it as their first preference for Reception-age pupils starting in September 2021. It was also acknowledged that this decision now removes “uncertainties for parents, pupils and staff at Stoke Primary Academy”. 

Academy Name

As part of the consultation your preference was for the Trust to retain neither Stoke nor Allhallows in the name of the newly merged academy.  Thank you to those parents, carers and indeed pupils, that worked alongside Mrs Rimmer in giving feedback on the possible academy names that were identified. As a result of your feedback, and wider stakeholder inputs, our chosen name for the newly merged Academy is Peninsula East Primary Academy (PEPA). Of all the proposed names, we felt this was the most reflective of the wider community the academy will now serve; it is also symbolic of the bringing together of two important villages located side-by-side on the Peninsula. 

Academy Uniform

As already outlined in our consultation process, we will have a phased approach to the purchase of the new school uniform. We will not expect current parents to buy the academy’s new uniform for September 2021, but do ask that all future purchases and replacement items will be from the new PEPA uniform stock.  Uniform items for Stoke and Allhallows will no longer be available for purchase. However, if parents wish to purchase the new academy uniform sooner, then of course this is acceptable and we anticipate this will be available for purchase from mid-July onwards. Mrs Rimmer will share further details with you in the coming weeks. 

New Reception Class Uniform

For those children starting in Reception class in September 2021, the new PEPA uniform will be available for you to purchase prior to the start of next academic year. The uniform expectations will remain in line with those currently in place and will consist of an academy jumper or cardigan, tie and an academy rucksack. All other required items as outlined can be purchased from appropriate providers. Mrs Rimmer will share the full uniform list, along with updated uniform provider details, as soon as they are available and as part of your transition information pack. 

Reception Class Facilities Investment

Now we have received confirmation of the merger, we are delighted to share that we will be investing in our Reception class facilities over the summer break, including both the classroom and designated outside space. This will secure a fantastic new learning environment for our reception class, ensuring that they have the best possible start to their school journey with us. The nursery currently located at Stoke will be using recently renovated facilities at the Allhallows site upgraded just twelve months ago. All of this represents considerable investment in your child’s future and will significantly enhance their enjoyment of school.

IT Investment

As a result of the merger, we can also confirm that we are in a position to further invest in IT equipment for our pupils as outlined in the consultation materials. From September, all PEPA children will have access to a 1:1 device, whether this be a Chromebook or iPad, whilst in the academy. This is incredibly exciting news for our children, and will give them much needed access to the tools they need to be well-equipped in our ever-growing digital world. 

Transport

As a result of the Trust’s commitment to the transport arrangements as set out in the consultation period, we have been able to secure a minibus for use that will remain on the PEPA site, meaning not only will we continue to support those eligible for travel from Stoke school site everyday, but it will be more readily available for the wider use of the whole school community. Mrs Rimmer will write to you further over the coming weeks to confirm which families will be making use of the transport and to confirm the new arrangements from September 2021. 

Wraparound Care

Currently, we only operate a breakfast club at Allhallows Primary Academy. This will continue to be offered. However, as a result of the confirmed merger we are now exploring options to provide an after school club as well. I know this will be very welcomed by many of you and Mrs Rimmer will write again in due course outlining details as soon as she is able. 

Mrs Rimmer is hopeful that by the end of the year, with restrictions allowing, she will be able to invite parents and carers to visit Allhallows Primary Academy to see your child’s class and the work they have produced this year. If you are a current Stoke parent who has not been able to look around Allhallows, Mrs Rimmer is happy to facilitate showing parents around, providing the continued easing of Covid restrictions permits this to take place.

I want to take the opportunity to thank you all for your engagement and support throughout the period of consultation and of course, throughout this very challenging academic year. While we have experienced a great deal of uncertainty over the course of the year as a result of the pandemic and the additional pressures it placed on Stoke Primary Academy in particular, we can now move forward together, looking to the new academic year and the future successes of PEPA in ensuring that we continue to work together to provide our children with the very best educational experiences.  

As outlined, Mrs Rimmer will be writing to you again shortly. However, If you have any immediate questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact us at Allhallows Primary Academy at office@allhallowsprimaryacademy.org.uk.  

Yours faithfully,

Emma Elwin 

Academies Director 

Medway