Leaders of Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust concerned parents not aware of schooling options

Dr Richard Fletcher
Dr Richard Fletcher
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Leaders of the break-away academy trust in Bury St Edmunds have voiced concerns that parents may not be aware of all the options as they decide their children’s schooling future.

Dr Richard Fletcher, chairman of the Bury Academy Trust, says parents of pupils currently in Year 4 ‘don’t necessarily know’ they can choose to send them to Horringer Court and Westley Middle Schools.

In Suffolk County Council’s move to two tier education, St James, Hardwick, Howard and St Louis Middle Schools will close with pupils remaining at their primary schools.

However, the academy trust, which also includes County Upper, Tollgate and Barrow Primary Schools, has adopted an all-through model and Dr Fletcher is concerned the message over choice is not being delivered. He said: “The primary schools have no interest in letting them know they have that choice. The local authority I think will provide the information if asked but are not proactively making it clear to parents they do have the choice.”

Dr Fletcher said parents have until January to apply for a school place. He said benefits of the trust include strong results, stability and close working across the phases.

A council spokesman said if a child is their final year at primary for four to 11-year-olds or a middle school they will send a letter and application form for the ‘normal year of entry’ in the September before it is time to move schools. If a parent wants to move a child at another time they should contact the council. They also sent a letter dated July 21 outlining the Academy Trust options. He added that under two tier ‘pupil results quickly improve’ and the system is ‘a more efficient and fluid way of young people moving through their early education’.