Head quits diocese over school closure

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THE headteacher of a Catholic school earmarked for closure has quit her role on the diocese so she can speak out against the move.

Anne Mansfield, headteacher of St Louis Middle School, had a leading role in the East Anglian Diocese in helping Catholic schools during the transition from three to two tier education being brought in by Suffolk County Council.

That switch by the council is now on hold in Bury for at least six years due to a lack of funds.

But the diocese said in November that it is looking to press ahead with changes in Catholic schools to bring it in line with other parts of Suffolk. And they plan to close St Louis in two years’ time.

In a newsletter to parents, Mrs Mansfield said she had been ‘a little reticent’ to speak about the closure because of her diocesan role.

“Since this decision, I have found myself in an untenable position and with the full understanding of Julie O’Connor, the diocesan director of schools, I have recently resigned from that role and am now able to express my views as headteacher of St Louis Middle School,” she said.

“The proposal that St Louis should close in 2013 ahead of the rest of Bury St Edmunds middle schools is not the preferred option of the governors of St Louis or myself. We are not trying to stop St Louis closing; our concern is the timing of the transition here in Bury which we believe will have a very detrimental effect on fulfilling the vision for Catholic education in West Suffolk.

“Governors are aware that the delay in proceeding with School Organisation Review in Bury has put the West Suffolk Pyramid in a very difficult situation and we must consider the good of the whole pyramid.”

A campaign group fighting to save the school has welcomed Mrs Mansfield’s opposition to the early closure.

Parents have been invited to a meeting at the school on at 7pm on January 25 to hear Mrs Mansfield’s suggestions on a ‘very creative way forward’. She will also post her views on the school website – www.st-louismiddle.suffolk.sch.uk

Mrs Mansfield has also announced she is to retire at the end of the academic year but said it was unrelated to the School Organisation Review.