There are big changes ahead for Bishop Tufnell CE Junior & Infant Schools.
Not only will they be saying farewell to executive headteacher Shane Morton but, if all goes as planned, the schools will merge from September.
A consultation into the proposed merger was launched on March 20 and will run until May 15. The proposal is for the junior school to officially close on August 31, while the age range at the infant school will increase to Year R-Year 6 (four-11-year-olds). The new all-through primary school will continue from September 1, using both existing sites.
Mr Morton, who will take up his new post as educational advisor for the Diocese of Chichester after Easter, said: “I know that the two Bishop Tufnell schools will go from strength to strength in their journey from partnership to federation to amalgamation.
“The school community is currently going through a period of consultation about our intention to create one school from September 2018 for the best continuity of education for the children.
“I believe in unity and learning together so that each unique child of God can develop into the person that they were created to be.
“After all, it takes a whole village to raise a child!”
The two schools formed a federation in September 2017. Following discussions with the diocese and local authority, coupled with Mr Morton’s decision to leave, the governing body decided a single headteacher across both schools would be the best way forward.
The consultation document said: “The governing body believes that this will significantly improve outcomes for the children as well as providing greater opportunities for the staff.”
As for Mr Morton, he said he was looking forward to his new challenge after 12 years at Bishop Tufnell.
He added: “It has been a privilege to serve this community and I am proud of the wonderful children and staff, past and present, who have filled the classrooms with so much love, laughter and happiness every day.
"A picture hangs on the wall of my office. It is of Edward Wyndham Tufnell, the first Bishop of Brisbane, the late Rector of Felpham, who founded a school here 130 years ago.
"His flame now passes on and it was my great honour to have held it for a little while.”
Staff past and present gathered on March 21 to say a proper farewell. The Rev John Challis, ex-officio governor, said: “Shane has embodied the Christian values of the school, from service to humility, faithfulness to courage, he has led from the front.”
Mr Morton added: “I would like to thank the governors, staff, children and parents for all their kind and generous messages, cards and gifts to me over the last few weeks.
“I am very grateful and I will miss you all so much.”
To have your say on the merger, log on to haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk .