Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 16°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Bury St Edmunds: Parents at St Louis Middle School criticise the Diocese of East Anglia after school rated outstanding by Ofsted closes

12:45 21 February 2014

Bernadine Miller and daughter Ellie Miller are angry about the closure of St Louis Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds

Bernadine Miller and daughter Ellie Miller are angry about the closure of St Louis Catholic School in Bury St Edmunds

Archant

Furious parents have blasted the diocese in charge of their children’s “outstanding” middle school and claimed it was given no option but to close.

Governors at St Louis Catholic Middle School in Bury St Edmunds took the decision to close it earlier this month, allowing the other two schools in the town’s Catholic pyramid - St Edmund’s Primary and St Benedict’s - to move to a two-tier system.

However, parents at the school have accused the Diocese of East Anglia of pressuring the only “outstanding” Catholic school in the town to close - to the detriment of students and against parents’ wishes.

The diocese said that the governing bodies of all six Catholic schools in west Suffolk had agreed the move to two-tier, and that it “recognised the long-standing achievements” of St Louis, which was given the top grade in every aspect by Ofsted in June.

In a letter to the EADT, PTA co-chairman Susanne White accused the diocese of applying “political pressure” to the school’s governing body.

She added: “This change is not about raising standards and doing what is best for the children - it’s about politics, structural conformity and the achievement of personal ambitions.

“I know of several families who will be removing their children from the Catholic schools as a result of this decision, and many others who will be reassessing the educational pathway for their children in the light of this planned change.

“It could be just a matter of time before this massive strategic blunder leads to the closure of St Benedict’s. Without visionary leadership recognising its best assets, the West Suffolk Catholic Pyramid could well stagnate and fail.”

The decision to close the school at the end of 2015/16 academic year was taken by a majority vote of the board of governors.

Two new governors - Dennis McGarry, a former Catholic high school headteacher, and Francis Watts, secretary of the St Edmund’s Catholic Parish in Bury - were appointed by the diocese in December.

Eamonn Coveney, a consultant at West Suffolk Hospital who has children at St Louis, was appointed by the diocese in January, bringing the number of governors eligible to vote to 17.

The diocese first announced plans to close St Louis and move to a two-tier system in 2011, reflecting the proposed changes in Suffolk County Council’s school organisation review (SOR).

However, an appeal by the school’s governors saw an adjudicator rule against the closure, branding the restructuring plans “mediocre”.

Parent Bernie Miller was one of the driving forces behind staving off the initial closure notice.

She said: “It is a sad day for this exceptional school, for the Ofsted ‘outstanding’ staff who will lose their jobs, and most importantly for those children who will be faced with a ‘mediocre’ alternative.

“In my opinion this proposal doesn’t seem very Catholic, Christian or moral, and it certainly doesn’t raise educational standards.

“When can it be justifiable to close an ‘outstanding’ school, the only ‘outstanding’ school in the Catholic pyramid, and replace it with a cramped primary on an already busy road and a split-site upper school, duplicating resources at great expense to the tax payer? This defies all logic and the diocese needs to be held to account.”

In her letter announcing the closure, chair of governors Siobhan Watson said the decision was based on consultation results and financial projections, including “probable expansion of St Edmund’s to teach years five and six, given the likely support of the diocese”.

She added: “At the centre of our deliberations was the future wellbeing and education of our children; we believe that the stability and cohesion within their schools and parishes will provide the best platform for their success.”

A spokeswoman from the diocese said the public consultation showed “strong support” for moving to two tier.

She added: “All governing bodies in the Catholic Pyramid have been able to consider the feedback received and all six governing bodies have decided to support the publication of notices that formally propose this organisational move.

“Given this level of support, and the fact that three primary schools in the pyramid are already two-tier, the diocese supports the governors’ decision.

“It does this whilst also recognising the long-standing achievements of St Louis Middle School.”

1 comment

  • So what will happen when the Diocese realises it has made a terrible mistake? Someone may be held to account but irreparable damage will have been done to Catholic education in our area.

    Report this comment

    anotheroneopens

    Friday, February 28, 2014

The Trotters Pig

Everyone has a favourite piggy - but which one is it?

Possible views for the new Cornhill in the heart of Ipswich.

A free wifi area could be created in the heart of Ipswich when the Cornhill is rebuilt over the next two years, it has emerged.

Tess carried a faulty BRCA2 gene, which greatly increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The family of a 24-year-old woman from Ipswich who has died of cancer have paid tribute to her “strength” and “bravery” as she was determined to live life to the full despite the devastating diagnosis.

Sun, sea, sand and shade is the theme for the competition

A competition is being launched in Kesgrave to help bring together people in the community who have a love of photography.

Just the straw rolls to clear after the harvest - Sue Foster

Suffolk is the bread basket of England.

Travellers encampment on Bramford Recreation Ground Ipswich.

Ipswich Borough Council today will start to clean up a playing field in Ipswich after a group of travellers left overnight.

Young Ipswich Town fan Noah Day having his picture taken with manager Mick McCarthy.

Thousands of Ipswich Town fans gathered at Portman Road for the club’s annual open day today.

Ipswich Hospital

Hundreds of working days were lost at Suffolk’s largest hospital through psychological issues last month, prompting an investigation into the possible link between staff overtime and stress.

Mia and Toby Hambling with the Great Piggish Bake Off

They are more photographed than Kim Kardashian right now - and it is clear to see why.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A woman used a pair of novelty Christmas slippers to set her ex-boyfriend’s front door alight after he rebuffed her attempt to rekindle their relationship, a court heard.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24