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Richard Kemp with some mums and carers who are trying to save  the Woodlands Children's Centre in Shepherds Lane, Glemsford 'The centre is one of 9 that Suffolk County Council are consulting over with a view to merge them with other centres.                                     FL; Richard Kemp with friends of Woodlands Children's Centre Sian Garwood, Kara Pyne with 6 week old Chloe, Bec Lewis Michell Hargest with her daughter Hope. ANL-140729-202002009
Richard Kemp with some mums and carers who are trying to save the Woodlands Children's Centre in Shepherds Lane, Glemsford 'The centre is one of 9 that Suffolk County Council are consulting over with a view to merge them with other centres. FL; Richard Kemp with friends of Woodlands Children's Centre Sian Garwood, Kara Pyne with 6 week old Chloe, Bec Lewis Michell Hargest with her daughter Hope. ANL-140729-202002009
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Glemsford Community Primary School has applied to become an academy as part of Haverhill’s Samuel Ward School Academy Trust.

The move is seen as a way of boosting performance at the 170-strong primary school, which is in special measures following a highly-critical Ofsted inspection last year.

Headteacher Clare Farrant, who took over from former head Liz Steel – who quit following a £500,000 technology scam – said the school is in discussions with Suffolk County Council and the Department for Education about a sponsorship arrangement with Samuel Ward.

She said the school was making strong progress, after a difficult few years, and the hope is that, with a successful local sponsor, this will accelerate improvements.

She said: “This is the opportunity for Glemsford Primary to become the excellent primary school it has always had the potential to be.

“The staff at Samuel Ward have the experience and determination to partner us in our vision for excellence and are committed to supporting us on that journey.”

If approved, Glemsford would become one of a number of schools under the Samuel Ward umbrella. It would act as a feeder school for the Haverhill secondary school.

Howard Lay, headteacher of Samuel Ward Academy said: “We are determined that Glemsford primary becomes an excellent school.

“We will help it improve teaching and learning and achievement but ensure that its distinctive ethos and identity remains as it is.”

Mr Howard, who lives in Glemsford, said he had a vested interested in improving the school.

“I live in the village and my children went to the school. It’s a beautiful Victorian building; the centrepiece of the village. There is no hidden agenda; we genuinely want to help.”

There is a question mark over the use of Woodlands Children’s Centre, which is based at the school. Suffolk County Council is in consultation over plans to close it.

County councillor Richard Kemp said the potential closure was discussed, along with the school’s academy application, at a recent Glemsford Parish Council.

He said: “The centre was built to meet the desperate need of families in Glemsford at a cost of £700,000. I think it is highly valuable amenity and, if closed, represents a waste of money.”

But Mr Howard said that if the decision was taken to close the centre, the school would look at negotiating with Suffolk County Council to retain it for the school’s future use.