Cabinet approves school closures

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HEADTEACHERS have pledged to work together to ensure a smooth transition to two-tier education after plans to axe three middle schools were rubber-stamped.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet unanimously approved the move for the Thurston area including the closure of Beyton, Ixworth and Blackbourne Middle Schools.

Extra year groups will be adopted at 17 primary schools and Thurston Community College, which would use the Beyton Middle site as a second campus.

Admission to the middle schools would cease from next September and they would close the following year. A Free School is proposed for the site of Ixworth Middle.

Headteachers say they will now work closely to implement the switch.

Andy Nicholson, head at Beyton, said: “The decision isn’t unexpected but neverthless it is still a great disappointment. We will, however, strive to ensure that the changes are brought about as easily as possible with minimum disruption to the children.”

Phil Vigrass, head at Blackbourne Middle, in Stanton, said: “We will be seeking to make sure we’re able to retain our staff and the children have the usual teachers in front of them for as long as possible.”

Glenice Francis, head at Ixworth Middle, said: “In the short term, our aim is to maintain good quality education for our pupils by minimising the impact of staff departures. Promises of future employment, given by pyramid schools during the consultation period, can now be realised.”

A letter to parents from the Thurston Partnership, which includes the primary schools and college, said: “We have met regularly with the headteachers and staff of our three middle schools to ensure that strong relationships are maintained between all schools to ensure a smooth transition to the new structure.”