Suffolk County Council have rubber-stamped the controversial move to two-tier education in the Bury St Edmunds area.
The green light was given to the plans at a cabinet meeting this afternoon.
The move will see four middle schools close, 16 primary and upper schools take on extra year groups and a new secondary school built on Moreton Hall in 2016.
Speaking before the decision, Councillor Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said the £23million plans are supported by the majority of schools in the area.
He said: “The council will know that Bury St Edmunds is the last three-tier area in the county to be reorganised as part of Suffolk’s Schools Organisation Review.
“Over 130 schools have already completed the change in Suffolk and we are working with another 40 schools in the process of change.
“Already we have seen a fast rate of improvement in schools that have reorganised.” He added: “The Bury St Edmunds area is the most complex area to be considered for organisation.
“However, we should not stick with a school system that is not supported by the majority of schools.”
The decision was delayed until after lunch after an early version of the meeting’s statutory notices was distributed to members by mistake.
A final version, which was published online last week, was hastily printed out for members before the decision was made.
Councillor Sonia Barker commented in the meeting that with an high profile issue that affects so many people, a mistake like this should not have been made.
She said: “It suggests to me there is something not quite right going on if people are not looking at it in this level of detail.”
Following the decision, Graham White, Suffolk Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said although the decision was no surprise, it would not raise standards in education.
He said: “If you look at the Bury schools they are the ones with the best standards.
“Closing the middle schools is not going to raise attainment.
“There’s no reason why we cannot have individual solutions for individual areas.”
For more on the Schools Organisation Review see Friday’s Bury Free Press.