December 8 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 25, 2013
Efforts are being made to keep an estate’s links with an “outstanding” upper school alive.
There is considerable concern among many parents on the Howard estate in Bury St Edmunds that changes to the structure of education in the area - which is currently under consultation - will mean their children will not be able to attend County Upper School.
Currently, youngsters there can feed into nearby County Upper from Howard Middle School, but the middle school is earmarked for closure as part of Suffolk County Council’s proposal to move to two-tier education - primaries and secondary schools - in the area.
But County Upper will continue to take children from Year 9 as it is part of the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust - with Barrow Primary and Westley and Horringer Court Middles - which is not part of the two-tier plans.
This means, if the proposals go ahead, Howard estate children would effectively be cut off from going to County Upper unless they attended Westley and Horringer Court Middles, but would have the options of King Edward VI School or a new academy secondary school at Moreton Hall.
As Howard Middle is earmarked for closure at the end of the summer term in 2016, its only pupils with a direct route to County Upper are the current Year 6s, 7s and 8s.
Ernie Broom, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART), said he was trying to get decision makers around the table to get a “better deal” for the estate’s children, adding: “If people accept it’s a done deal then nothing will be done.”
He said he would form a committee, adding he was also considering starting a petition.
Howard Middle School headteacher Greg Sadler said: “We are part of the Bury Schools Partnership and for what that stands for in ensuring the smooth transition of the children and opportunities for the staff.
“But I do firmly believe parents should have the choice of where to send their children.”
The Bury Schools Partnership is a group of 19 schools, including Howard Middle School, which want to a make sure, if reorganisation is agreed, it is as smooth as possible.
Mr Sadler added: “The fall out of the consultation meeting [on October 17] was it was obvious parents still wanted to be able to access County Upper School and are confused as to why they cannot.”
County Upper headteacher Vicky Neale said the Bury Academy Trust had wanted Howard Middle to be part of the trust, but attempts proved unsuccessful.
She said last week: “The school, the trust and I personally want them [the children from the Howard estate].”
While County Upper’s current admission’s policy does give preference to children from Westley and Horringer Court Middles, Howard Middle children currently have the chance of getting into County Upper on leaving their school in Year 8.
The consultation document is available on the county council website.