Five schools planning to form all-through ‘joined up’ system

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FIVE schools in Bury St Edmunds could join forces to form an all- through system.

The new model for pupils aged four-19 would be made up of Barrow Primary, Westley, Horringer Court and Howard Middle Schools as well as County Upper.

Headteachers say the move would create a ‘fully integrated, accountable and joined up educational approach’.

Already County Upper, Westley and Horringer Court are working together as part of the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust.

The two other schools are looking to join that umbrella with Barrow applying for academy status and Howard awaiting a decision on its academy bid from the Department of Education.

A four-19 co-ordinator has been appointed by the trust to oversee the move.

Each school would still have its own headteacher and keep its individual name.

Vicky Neale, head at County Upper, said the proposal would provide continuity and flexibility.

She said: “The concept is a much more joined up approach. It’s more about looking at it as a continuum. We would have consistent policies, staffing and accountability right across the board.

“It will keep some of the good features and address some of the problems of the three tier system.

“Some staff could work across more than one site. In terms of individual pupils, there could be a child at primary who could benefit from a day a week going up early to the next building.

“It might be there are a group of children who are going to move buildings and still need a more primary curriculum.”

A statement from Barrow Primary said: “This will facilitate and indeed drive a fully integrated, accountable and ‘joined up’ four-19 year educational approach.”

They added that between the schools there would be ‘increased accountability, rigorous monitoring and effective transition to improve attainment further’ as well as ‘curriculum innovation through a greater sharing of expertise across schools but maintaining each school’s identity’.

Dr Viv Hughes, chairman of governors, said: “We’re very enthusiastic about becoming an academy and building an all-through educational arrangement which is unashamedly child-centric rather than Key Stage centric.”

A new primary school could also be built as part of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s proposed north west development.

Colin Sinclair, head at Howard Middle, said that if they become an academy they would seek to locate the new primary school on the Howard Middle site and the new school could join the academy trust.

The schools aim to have the all-through system set up for September.

n Meanwhile, headteachers in Bury met with Suffolk County Council bosses this week to discuss the move from three to two tier education.

A spokeswoman for the authority said ‘a number of ideas’ about the switch were discussed and the heads have formed a working party to look at them in detail to come up with viable options.