Head hits back at failing middle schools claims

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A HEADTEACHER has hit back at claims that the latest exam results show that the middle school system in Bury St Edmunds is failing youngsters.

St James’ Middle School was the only school in Bury to make the top half of a county council league table following the publication of key stage two results last week

The school saw 77 per cent of its pupils pass at level four or above in English and maths, an achievement that ranked it 46th out of more than 120 Suffolk schools that sat the exams.

Paul Elstone, its headteacher for the past 13 years, put the results down to good teaching and booster classes.

“I am a passionate believer in middle schools. We are able to protect children from some of the bad influences of society while giving them a responsibility, a nurturing environment and a broad and balanced education,” he said.

But he also warned of instability in middle schools following comments from Suffolk county councillor Graham Newman who argued the results showed the switch to two-tier education in Bury should be brought forward from 2017.

Mr Elstone, who represents middle schools on the Suffolk School Forum, said: “Schools are not just about buildings, they are about people – we need teachers to feel secure in their positions so we can retain the best teachers so that children get the best education possible.”

n St James’ Middle School was missed off our key stage two attainment list in last week’s paper. We apologise for the error.