Council ready for cabinet vote on schools shuffle

Graham Newman
Graham Newman
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Feedback from the public consultation into the future of schools in the Stowmarket and Stowupland area has been published in the run up to Suffolk County Council’s cabinet vote on Tuesday.

The 93-page document outlines the key points and views gleaned from the nine-week consultation process, which took place between September and November.

Approximately 1,300 people attended the meetings staged at schools affected by the proposed move from a three-tier education system to a two-tier system.

Concerns raised in the 734 questionnaires returned included how the council would ensure pupils caught in the middle of the reshuffle would not be disrupted, access to school sites would be dealt with an influx of new pupils and how much the reorganisation would eventually cost.

But the consultation has been criticised by Bacton Middle School governor Gerry Shaw, who says that the real problems have not been addressed.

Mr Shaw said Denes High School in Lowestoft, which had already been involved in two- tier restructuring, had slipped in its Ofsted inspections and was now rated ‘inadequate’ and in need of ‘special measures’.

Mr Shaw said: “How could it be that following moves initiated by Suffolk County Council to improve standards throughout the county, despite promises for improvement and following lavish expenditure, the result of the Ofsted inspection on 13-14 September 2012 was ‘inadequate’?”

Cllr Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “The reorganisation is not, and never has been about individual schools.

“It is about bringing the whole Suffolk system into line with the rest of England,reducing the number of times children change school and giving a single line of accountability for their progress through each key stage.