Last chance to shape education in Bury St Edmunds as two-tier consultation nears end

Cllr Lisa Chambers
Cllr Lisa Chambers
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Parents have one last chance to help shape the future of education in Bury St Edmunds as the final consultation on the move to two-tier schooling nears its end.

Suffolk County Council will accept representations until Tuesday, April 22, on statutory notices to close St James, St Louis Catholic, Hardwick Middle and Howard Middle Schools in August 2016.

Education leaders and bosses are urging parents to have their say on the proposals, which the authority says is needed to improve attainment.

Sue Herriott, head at Guildhall Feoffment Primary and chairman of the Bury Schools Partnership, which is overseeing the move to two-tier, said: “It’s very important as part of a democratic process people put forward their views and contribute to the debate.”

On two-tier, she said it removes ‘the need for transition between separate sites and is the model in the rest of the country’. She added: “In Suffolk and even in Bury we have to address underachievement and we feel this is an important way of addressing that.”

However, County Upper, Horringer Court and Westley Middles as well as Barrow Primary School have adopted an all-through model of schooling as part of the Bury Academy Trust. Tollgate Primary has been granted orders to join the Trust and Howard Middle is also looking to break-away.

Dr Richard Fletcher, chairman of the Trust, said: “Suffolk has acknowledged that its plan for Bury requires further thought before they go back to the cabinet. We have been approached by many, many parents who support our highly successful all-through school and who very much want it to expand. I therefore urge people to engage with this final round of consultation.”

Lisa Chambers, the council’s cabinet member for education, said: “SOR is about driving up attainment by minimising the number of times our young people have to start new schools and get used to new systems.

“We recognise that this transition needs to be as smooth as possible to ensure that the education of pupils is not affected.

“Our number one priority as an authority is to improve educational standards, and I will not rest until educational performance has reached the level our children deserve.”

Write to Joy Stodart, Endeavour House, 8 Russell Rd, Ipswich or email