Adjudicator listens to school closure views

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MORE than 100 people crammed into the school hall at St Louis Catholic Middle School for an emotionally charged meeting with a schools adjudicator.

Janet Mokades, from the office of the schools adjudicator, chaired the meeting on Thursday in which pupils, parents and teachers were given the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Many felt that the alternatives to closing the middle school – rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted – by September 2013 had not been looked at properly, saying the decision process was ‘deeply flawed’.

Phil Whiffing, Suffolk County Council’s strategic organisation review project leader, and Julie O’Connor, director of schools services for the Diocese of East Anglia, were then given 10 minutes to put forward the case of the two-tier system.

Chris Pamplin, parent governor of St Louis, was then given the chance to put forward the case for an ‘all-through’ school.

He said: “We need a flexible, reliable and future-proof schools structure. An all-through system is better than a two-tier system on every one of the strategic organisation review’s objectives.”

Mrs Mokades then heard the views from parents, pupils and staff at the school.

Many felt that they had been misinformed about the process and said that it felt like the decision on the matter had been made long before the consultation process.

Acting headteacher at St Louis, Rose Heap, said the meeting had taken place in a very professional manner.

She said: “It was very encouraging for parents and staff to have their views heard. They have been wanting that opportunity for a very long time.”

Mrs Mokades is expected to make her decision within the next two weeks.