League tables show ‘middle school system is failing’

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THE middle schools system in Bury St Edmunds is failing pupils, a senior councillor has claimed after key stage two league tables were published this week.

All of the town’s schools ranked in the bottom half of the Suffolk table – 127 schools across the county took the exams.

Several others, however, including St Edmunds Catholic primary, in Bury, Ixworth middle and Riverside middle, in Mildenhall boycotted, the exams, questioning their validity.

Despite this, Suffolk county councillor Graham Newman, portfolio holder for children and young people, says the results back his argument that there is an urgency to switch to two tier education and ditch middle schools.

“Bury is one of the most prosperous parts of the county and yet its results are not reflected in that,” he said.

Lowest ranking of all the town’s schools was Howard Middle School – it ranked 116 out of 172 Suffolk schools – where just over half of pupils, 51 per cent, achieved the Government target of level four in English and maths.

Next was Horringer Court middle with a 63 per cent pass rate – it ranked in 92nd place, while Hardwick Middle was placed 85th with a 65 per cent pass rate.

St Louis Catholic Middle School – earmarked for closure in 2013 – came 84th with a 65 per cent pass rate while Westley middle was the best performing of the Bury schools – it came 76th with a 68 per cent pass rate.

“Year after year we see the difference between the three tier and two tier systems. I think we need to do better for the people of Bury and we can do that by moving to two tier education,” Cllr Newman said.

Currently the move to two tier in Bury has been put on hold until 2017 at the earliest due to a lack of Government and council finance. Catholic schools are looking to press ahead with the switch over in three years’ time.

Cllr Newman said he hoped the county move could now be brought forward. In the meantime, extra support would be given to the lower ranking schools in a bid to boost their performance next year.