Middle school consultation plans shelved

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COUNCIL bosses have shelved consultations over plans to abolish middle schools in Mid and West Suffolk.

Suffolk County Council will no longer discuss options with parents and governors for the School Organisation Review in Stowmarket, Stowupland and Thurston in the next two months.

The move is a result of uncertainty over Government funding and the authority will now explore other options such as setting up free schools and academies.

Funding is secure for the first three phases of the review where the council has consulted and approved proposals.

The SOR in Bury has already been put back until at least 2017.

Cllr Graham Newman, portfolio holder for schools, said: “The Government’s funding arrangements for school buildings beyond 2011-12 await the outcome of the James Review: the comprehensive review of all capital investment in schools, early years, colleges and sixth forms. We will therefore have to plan SOR in a different way for Stowmarket, Stowupland, Thurston and Bury St Edmunds.”

Headteachers in the region say the development was expected.

Vicky Neale, of County Upper in Bury, which aims to be an academy, said: “It was inevitable given the national funding situation.”

Mark Cresswell, of Combs Middle in Stowmarket, added: “It’s nothing less than what we thought was going to happen.”