Stedham Squirrels to become Rogate Robins

Stedham Squirrels enjoying a tractor ride with their families
Stedham Squirrels enjoying a tractor ride with their families

Stedham Squirrels are to move three miles down the road and become Rogate Robins after increasing numbers at Stedham Primary School meant it has had to reclaim the classroom it has rented to the nursery school.

It is all part of radical restructuring for Rogate CofE Primary School which has made a rapid recovery since the shock of poor Ofsted results in January last year. It now wants to extend its age range to include a pre-school from September, by giving the Stedham Squirrels a spare outside classroom on its site.

Manager Gemma Gabler says: “The last thing we wanted was to receive the notice from Stedham Primary to quit our classroom here, but I want to thank them for letting us know as soon as their governors approved the expansion of the school, and I now feel this might be the best thing that ever happened to us.

“Rogate has a two-acre site with an ideal classroom and lots of outside play area and forest school facilities. We will be taking our extensive educational resources and we will be entering into a partnership with the school to invest in new equipment and learning material. We will be running a full day care service in conjunction with Rogate to provide flexibility for working parents in the community.”

Restructuring at Rogate has included a new headteacher, major changes to its board of governors and curriculum, heavy investment in staff training and improved facilities and resources.

Its latest SATS results, lifted the school from the weaker end of its local West Sussex peer group in reading, writing and maths to the strongest end.

Headteacher Amy O’Toole said: “Now it’s time for us to move forward again and I believe taking in children from 2 or 3 will not only provide a much-needed service to working parents, but will also enable us to offer young children the chance to go right through to age 11 in one lovely setting, without the disruption of a move at 4-5. If all goes well, both sides agree the ideal would be to merge into one school for 2-11 year olds. There will be hoops to jump through, but I passionately believe this would be the right answer for the school and community, and my governors have already agreed to set up a working party.”

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