School governor criticises council two-tier switch

Bacton Community Middle School

Bacton Community Middle School

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A governor at Bacton Community Middle School has criticised Suffolk County Council for sentencing the school to closure in 2015.

The local authority governor, who does not wish to be named in fear of disciplinary procedures, says the council’s plans to axe the school and move to a two-tier system of education are flawed.

He said: “The closure of such a fine school currently performing, in terms of attainment, well above County levels and indeed above national levels, seems to us very short sighted indeed.”

He argues that middle schools have been portrayed by the council as inherently deficient even though Bury St Edmund’s County Upper School was among the top five schools in the 2011 results tables and rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

He argues Bacton Community Middle School is also achieving well above national attainment levels, receiving a ‘good’ in last year’s Ofsted 
report.

He also said the council have created ‘myths’ around the three tier system - that the two points of transfer means lower attainment, that reorganisation will lead to higher attainment and that parents find middle school confusing.

“There is nothing inherent in the structure of three tier systems that means that they cannot be successful, he said.

“It makes little sense to close good and successful schools under the guise of seeking to raise standards.”

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “The 
recent key stage 2 results showed that schools now 
operating within the two tier system of education in Suffolk have seen as much as a 19 percent improvement in some subjects.

“These results demonstrate why there continues to be such a strong commitment from the county council to have all young people in the county educated in a primary and secondary (two tier) structure,” he added.