Exciting future for pupils following decision to amalgamate schools

26 February 2021

High quality early years education will continue for children in Handbridge following the amalgamation of two long-established schools.

In September this year, St Mary’s Community Nursery School will amalgamate with Overleigh St Mary’s CofE Primary School with which it shares a site.

Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said:  “The amalgamation means that a greater proportion of resources can be used for the direct benefit of children rather than the expense of maintaining two separate schools.

“St Mary’s had a particularly strong reputation for its ability to meet the needs of children with special educational needs and we are confident that this commitment will not be lost through the amalgamation with Overleigh.”

Overleigh St Mary’s headteacher Emma Drew said: “If, you or anyone you know, has a child who will be aged three by September 2021 and are looking for a nursery place, we urge you to consider joining our Overleigh School family.

“We offer a proven track record of high-quality educational achievement, a resource rich environment with exceptional grounds, facilities and staff that know and care for our children and their families as individuals. We are ambitious for all our children and support them to achieve their potential and have fun whilst developing life-long learning.

“We are keen to share our excellent learning environment with children who will go on to join us for the rest of their primary school years, as well as those that plan to move elsewhere. You never know you might find that we are the perfect fit for your child.”

Additional breakfast and after school wrap around care, from 7.30am and until 6pm, is available to be purchased. It is provided by an experienced team of Overleigh School staff.

St Mary’s Community Nursery School headteacher Katie Tyrie said: “We have, like many other state-maintained nursery schools, come under increasing and ultimately overwhelming financial pressures.

“This follows many months of consultation and is a sad moment for many who have held long and affectionate associations with St Mary’s Community Nursery School, both in its current location and when it was located on St Mary’s Hill in the city centre.   

“The governing body fought long and hard to find an alternative viable and sustainable option. In the current climate, with so many demands on funding, the long-term survival of nursery schools such as ours is not just a local but also a national issue.

“St Mary’s has a special place at the heart of its community. Over the years, children have gone to St Mary’s and their parents and sometimes grandparents before them have too. In 2021 when we close the doors for the last time, we will celebrate 175 years of education. 175 years of fun, laughter and learning. They do say that in years to come you might not recall what was said or even what you were doing but you will always remember how you felt. St Mary’s for so many felt quite simply like the best place to be.  

“Whilst we must say goodbye to St Marys as we know it, we must welcome the changes that lie ahead. An amalgamation with our neighbouring primary school will ensure the continuation of high quality, early years education for children in this area.  

“Overleigh St Marys Primary School will be opening its own nursery class in September. We will be working closely with Overleigh to support the transition and ensure there is continuity for children already enrolled.”

For information and to express an interest in your child attending, contact St Mary's Nursery School on 01244 981222.

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