Middle schools get academy status

THREE middle schools in Mid Suffolk have been given approval to become academies and work together to ensure they can continue to deliver ‘high quality’ education.

Stowmarket Middle School, Needham Market Middle School and Combs Middle School have been given approval from the Department for Education to become separate academies run under an umbrella trust.

The headteachers from each school decided to apply for academy status after being asked to come up with a creative solution for the future of schooling in Stowmarket and the surrounding area.

The schools continue to support the county’s aim of creating a two-tier schooling system, but Stowmarket Middle School headteacher Sally Holmes said this development ‘provides stability in the mean time’.

“It is the most sensible way of ensuring high-quality teaching and learning for children in Stowmarket. In times of great uncertainty it gives security and some certainty about what education will be like in Stowmarket,” she said.

This move means that the three schools will be ‘freed up’ from local authority control and all money available from the Department for Education will go directly to the school giving each academy ‘buying power’. The schools will each keep separate budgets and their own governing bodies, but decisions will be made together and supported by Hartismere High School, in Eye, which is already an academy.

Jim Neale, headteacher at Needham Market Middle School, said: “Nothing changes for the children and we are going to be concentrating on the amazing standards and working collaboratively.”

Letters have been sent out to parents at all three schools to explain the move, and an information evening was held yesterday at Needham Market Middle School.