Cabinet to decide fate of middle schools: meeting Monday at 6pm

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Suffolk County Council cabinet is set to give the green light to close middle schools in the Stowmarket area on Tuesday, despite facing fierce criticism.

The council has been asked to approve the change from a three-tier to a two-tier system of education in the area.

The move would mean Bacton Middle School, Needham Market Middle School and Combs Middle School would close in 2015.

Stowmarket Middle School would also close with the building used as as a split-site for Stowmarket High School.

During 2006, Suffolk County Council began its review of school organisation inresponse to areas of underperformance in Key Stage 2 levels, slower improvement at Keys Stage 4 than hoped and relatively low progression and attainment post 16.

The issues affected all Suffolk schools, but the council said it particularly affected schools in the three-tier system.

Schools in Haverhill and Lowestoft were the first to switch to the two-tier system in September 2011.

Areas including Newmarket, Brandon and Mildenhall, were the next to switch.

But a confederation of community groups, Suffolk Action for Truth on SOR, have set up a meeting at the Apex on Monday at 6pm to present its case that the schools reorganisation should be paused.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “All we hear from Suffolk County Council is that SOR is working using statistics people don’t understand.

“We believe we have statistics and data to show this is not the whole story and Suffolk County Councuil have been quite selective about the data they use.

“We would rather Sue Cook paused on SOR and had a chance to assimilate evidence.

“But we would also like to raise awareness for people in Bury that this issue is heading along the A14.”

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “Completing the School Organisation Review is an integral part of raising attainment levels across Suffolk.

“Every single primary school and high school in the Stowmarket and Stowupland area is anxious to complete the programme and indeed promoted the proposal to the county council.

“It is a fact that nationally pupils educated within a two tier system outperform those educated within a three tier system. You need only look at the most recent results in Haverhill and Lowestoft to see significant improvement in Key Stage 2 results, following reorganisation.”