A Wolverhampton infant and junior school will close its doors for the final time today (Friday 20 July, 2018) – ready to reopen as a primary school in September.
The Outstanding-rated Whitgreave Junior School and the Good-rated Whitgreave Infant School are merging and will become Whitgreave Primary School next term.
Headteacher Sarah Redfern said: "I am very excited about our new journey ahead.
“It will bring lots of positives for the children, staff and community, who will all be able to work together as one large cohesive team to provide the very best for our pupils. We welcome our new school, Whitgreave Primary School.”
The merger was first proposed last year following the retirement of Whitgreave Infant School's former headteacher. At the time, Junior School headteacher Mrs Redfern was appointed acting headteacher of the Infant School. The two governing boards also came together at the same time.
As well as marking a new chapter for the Low Hill Crescent school, the merger is a fresh start for more than half a dozen members of staff who were previously pupils at Whitgreave Infant and Junior and have fond memories of their schooldays.
They include teacher Kayleigh Biles, who attended the school as a pupil in the 1990s, who said: "I loved my time at Whitgreave Infant and Junior School. It was full of positive and exciting experiences which I look back on fondly.
"It is a pleasure to come back to the school in the role of the teacher and help create fantastic memories for today's pupils, like those I have from when I attended. Working here has brought back lots of memories and it is fascinating to witness how the school has progressed throughout the years."
Fellow teacher Mike Bell, a pupil in the late 1980s, said: “I have many happy memories of my time at Whitgreave, memories that I look back at with great fondness. I feel very lucky to be in a position to create memories for children through fun and engaging lessons that will stick in their mind in the future too.
“I'm also very fortunate to work with some fantastic staff, working under an outstanding headteacher. I'm really excited for the future, as becoming a primary school will only benefit the children and staff alike.”
Attendance Officer Sharon Westwood, a pupil in the late 1970s, added: "I remember joining in Year 1 of the Juniors and being one of the first children to learn in the new school building; it was very different to the infant school. Learning to write with the funny shaped pens was great, and Mr Kennedy was my favourite teacher in year 3 and 4."
Councillor Lynne Moran, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “Bringing together infant and junior schools in this way can bring a wide range of benefits to pupils and their families, by reducing the number of transitions which children make during their school life and ensuring the continuity of teaching, learning and achievement.”
Whitgreave was created under the name of Low Hill (Temporary) School in 1936 in the grounds of Our Lady and St Chad’s Roman Catholic Secondary School and was accommodated in a series of wooden huts. The school moved to its present home in 1976.