Governors challenge closure of St Louis

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A DECISION to close a top performing school has been challenged by its governors.

The governing body of St Louis Middle School, in Bury St Edmunds, has appealed to the Schools Adjudicator about the move.

They claim the statutory consultation process to determine the ‘outstanding’ rated school’s fate as part of a switch to two tier Catholic education was ‘flawed’ and failed to give an alternative proposal ‘a fair hearing’.

The governors had prepared an analysis of how two-tier compares with their preferred option of an all-through school, which would see a joint governance and overarching head at the three Bury Catholic campuses including St Edmunds and St Benedict’s.

Following an investigation, the Adjudicator could order that the consultation be repeated. A statement from the body on St Louis’ website said: “The all-through school is clearly better able to secure the future for St Benedict’s. It is our considered conclusion that to allow a flawed process to ignore the clear evidence of a better alternative school structure would be to betray the community and children we represent.

“We dearly hope that through the informed and independent scrutiny of the Schools Adjudicator all the schools in the pyramid can once more engage in an open and honest debate about what school structure in Bury is best for the future security of St Benedict’s, the pyramid and current and future children in our care.”

Hugh O’Neill, head at St Benedict’s, said the governors’ alternative would not protect his school or the pyramid.

He added: “We must offer a coherent system across the pyramid and that system can only be two tier. In the interests of the future children coming through the Catholic pyramid of schools, we hope that the adjudication does not delay the move towards a two tier system by 2013.”