School closure plans to press ahead despite objections

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EDUCATION bosses are to press ahead with controversial plans to close a top school despite pleas from teachers, parents and pupils.

The Diocesan School’s Service Commission is to publish statutory notices to close the ‘outstanding’ rated St Louis Catholic Middle School, in Bury St Edmunds.

As part of the move, St Edmunds Primary and St Benedict’s Upper will be expanded to take four to 11-year-olds and 11 to 18-year-olds respectively.

The move follows eight weeks of consultations and emotionally charged meetings where those affected voiced their fears about job losses, the impact on the quality of catholic education and the potential for divisions within the community.

They also put forward their alternatives to the proposals in a bid to keep St Louis open.

A statement to parents from the commission, said the notices would be published on June 17 and people have six weeks to comment on the proposals.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet will then make a final decision in September and, if approved, the switch to two tier will be completed in September 2013.

St Louis head Anne Mansfield said: “The governing body of St Louis Middle accepts that the school must close, but does not believe the dDiocesan preferred option is the best structure for St Benedict’s, for Bury and for the Pyramid. It also has very grave concerns about going two-tier ahead of the rest of Bury.”

A spokeswoman for the Stop, Listen, Rethink campaign group, added: “There were some very strong cases put forward by our group and other individuals and they have not acknowledged the quality of those arguments.

“It feels like they’re squandering what’s excellent and ignoring what’s going on in Bury.”

n Heads agree two-tier models – Page 7.