The Department of Education and Children is taking the final step in its reorganisation of separate infant and junior schools into single through primary schools.
From April next year, when Jill Gill, Headteacher of Ballacloan Infants’ School, retires, it is intended to amalgamate the school with Fairfield Junior School to form a new primary school. Ian Walmsley, the head of Fairfield, will lead the amalgamation process and will head the combined school.
In the longer term, it is hoped that the school will move to new buildings the Department is planning to create on part of the site of the old Noble’s Hospital in Westmoreland Road, Douglas.
Commenting on this change, Martin Barrow, Director of Education, said:
‘This provides us with the opportunity to create a single through primary school in preparation for a possible move to a new site in the future.’
‘Mr Walmsley, who has headed Fairfield for five years, had significant experience of leading a through primary school at his previous school, Vallajeelt, and I know he is really looking forward to the opportunity of integrating Fairfield and Ballacloan’s children and families.’
Mr Barrow paid tribute to Mrs Gill, who will retire after 42 years in education, 16 of them as head of Ballacloan, saying:
‘I know Jill will miss, and be missed by, the children and families associated with Ballacloan. She has devoted a significant part of her professional life to leading the school and has overseen many changes and developments during that time.
‘Jill is never happier than when she is working directly with the children and helping them to learn. I am sure all of those children and their families who have been through Ballacloan during the time Jill has been headteacher there would want to join with me in wishing her a long, happy and healthy retirement.’
As the plans for amalgamation progress, every opportunity will be taken to keep the two school communities informed about developments, Mr Barrow said.
As required by the Education Act 2001, the plan will be formally advertised, with the public given a chance to comment.
Ballaquayle Infants’ School and Murray’s Road Junior School came under a single headship in February 2012 in preparation for their merger as Scoill yn Jubilee that September, while Auldyn Infants’ School and Scoill Ree Gorree, which already share a headteacher, will become a single school, Bunscoill Rhumsaa, from September 2013.