Merger of First Base, Harbour, Old Warren House and The Attic schools

Published

The North Suffolk PRU Partnership have confirmed the planned merger of First Base, Harbour, Old Warren House and The Attic into one school.

The North Suffolk PRU Partnership is very excited to confirm that, following consultation which ended on 18th December 2020, the Local Authority along with the Management Committee have confirmed the planned merger of First Base, Harbour, Old Warren House and The Attic into one school. The merger will take effect from 1st September 2021. The merger of these important specialist provisions will mean that education and support will be managed by a single leadership team committed to delivering the best possible outcomes for children in need of an alternative approach to education.

The school will have a new name (yet to be decided) and will be governed by the new single Management Committee (at present called the Management Committee of the North Suffolk PRU Partnership).

Paul Morton, the current Executive Headteacher of First Base, Harbour and Old Warren House, is due to retire at the end of August; and the Management Committee is thrilled that Jo Lawrence, the current Headteacher of The Attic, will be the Headteacher of the new school from September. The teachers and support staff in the new school will be made up from the majority of current staff who work in the four schools at present.

Initially, until 2023, the school will be based in two sites while construction of new accommodation is completed in Lowestoft to allow all pupils in the school to be on one site in the future. From September, primary age children will be based in the current Harbour site in Lowestoft, with secondary age pupils based in the present Attic Hillside site in Bungay. First Base and Old Warren House school sites will not be used as they are at present.

The Dragonfly Unit in Carlton Colville will remain part of the single school under Jo Lawrence.

This is a time of exciting change for the pupils and staff which will result in enhanced, stronger school provision for the pupils who attend the PRU in the future. Jo Lawrence and the Management Committee are keen to ensure that the new single organisation meets the needs of all stakeholders. With this in mind, stakeholders will be invited to contribute to the development process, helping in a co-production process, once the new staffing structure has been agreed in mid-May 2021. We would ask colleagues to look out for updates and invitations to be involved in this work. Anyone who is interested in taking part in this process can e-mail Jo Lawrence at coproduction@theatticpru.org.uk.

The Headteacher of the new school, Jo Lawrence, said:

“I am excited and feel privileged to begin the next steps in developing a PRU offer for all students in North Suffolk that is equitable and consistent. Having built a positive working relationship with colleagues across the county in multi-agencies, education and the charity sector, I look forward to building a school community that works with the local community to meet the needs of all students alongside her mainstream and specialist colleagues.”

Karen Lodge, Chair of North Suffolk PRU Partnership, said:

“The Management Committee is delighted with the announcement of our Headteacher for September 2021, Mrs Joanna Lawrence; however, we must also pay tribute to the work of Paul Morton as Executive Headteacher of the NLPP schools (First Base, Harbour and Old Warren PRUs) over the last seven years as well as his on-going support for the process of the merger of the four schools. The collaboration between Paul and Jo has been exemplary. Jo has presented to the Management Committee an exciting and inspiring vision with plans for the school from September 2021 and for the next three years, an outcome of a lot of hard work from her, with support from Paul.

“I must also pay tribute to the staff of all the schools, who have worked so hard to ensure that the best provision possible has been in place for all pupils during this last difficult year, with the uncertainties linked to the merger plans and the additional challenges due to the huge impact of Covid. All of this incredible work reassures the Management Committee that the merged school will give all of our pupils, local schools and the community very exciting opportunities.”