IN HER determination of December 16, the schools adjudicator, Mrs Mokades, ruled against Suffolk County Council’s proposal to discontinue St Louis Catholic Middle School. She was emphatic: “I reject the proposal.”
Council officials and the Diocesan School Service Commission have not emerged unscathed from her consideration of the proposals and I can understand their shock and consequential lack of response.
The national educational landscape has changed and the Government’s aim is ‘to create a school system shaped by parents...a dynamic system in which the best schools are able to expand and spread their ethos and success’.
Mrs Mokades was critical of the proposal (for which no evidence was presented to her that the change would lead to improvement) and of the consultation process: “The view I have reached is that the proposal before me is not good enough.”
But, it does raise the question of whether the local authorities will listen and implement the Localism Bill, abandon their decision to close middle schools and give parents and pupils the three tier education system the majority prefer.
Any parent or pupil who has valued their education at any middle school in the town would be heartened to spend as little as five minutes to read the conclusion of the adjudicator’s document (to be found on the websites of the schools adjudicator and St Louis Middle School).
We do, thankfully, live in a democracy and local accountability, new and different methods of consultation and engagement are needed, and are, I believe, the way forward.
Finally, to assert that St Louis Middle School will be the only middle school left in the country, is incorrect – current figures can be checked on the National Middle Schools Forum website.