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Suffolk: School changes in Stowmarket and Stowupland set to go ahead

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 February 2013

Graham Newman.

Graham Newman.

Archant

SUFFOLK county council’s cabinet is expected to give the final go-ahead for the abolition of middle schools in the Stowmarket area next week.

Proposals to convert that area from three to two-tier schools are expected to be given the final go-ahead by the cabinet despite fierce opposition.

The county has been pressing ahead with school reorganisation despite opposition from teachers and parents across Suffolk.

In the Stowmarket area, campaigners have been battling since 2007 to try to retain the three-tier system and the four middle schools.

However, the county’s cabinet decided in December to go ahead with the formal notice of closure – which heralded the start of a six-week consultation period.

During that period there have been 15 representations of interest sent to the county council, of which 10 were in support of the reorganisation and five were opposed to it.

If the cabinet decides to approve the proposal, there will be no admission to middle schools in the area from September 2014.

The middle schools themselves – at Combs, Needham Market, Bacton and Stowmarket – would close in September 2015.

However, Stowmarket Middle School’s buildings would become an annexe to the town’s high school.

Schools in the Haverhill and Lowestoft areas have already been changed from three to two-tier – and the reorganisation is set to continue in all areas of the county that has had three-tier schools.

In the Ipswich area and part of mid Suffolk there have always been two-tier schools. In Felixstowe and Woodbridge the schools became two-tier in the 1970s and 1980s. Graham Newman, the cabinet member for education and young people, said: “Completing the School Organisation Review is an integral part of raising attainment levels across Suffolk. Every single primary school and high school in the Stowmarket and Stowupland area is anxious to complete the programme and indeed promoted the proposal to the county council.

“It is a fact that nationally pupils educated within a two-tier system outperform those educated within a three-tier system.

“You need only look at the most recent results in Haverhill and Lowestoft to see significant improvement in Key Stage Two results following reorganisation.”

Opposition Lib Dem education spokeswoman Penny Otten said she would continue to oppose the change.

She said: “The recent Ofsted reports have shown that the middle schools have improved and there are still questions about whether this really will improve education in the area.”

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Suffolk singing superstar Ed Sheeran has announced he is cancelling five upcoming tour dates in Asia after fracturing his wrist in a bicycle accident.

ActivIpswich will be launching its second ActivPentathlon Challenge this month, as those aged 50 and above are encouraged to enjoy sport and activity in a social environment.

Organisers of Felixstowe’s annual fireworks spectacular are presenting live music on stage as part of this year’s 10th anniversary event.

A top leader in Suffolk’s Higher Education has expressed her pride at being awarded an honorary fellowship at the university she was instrumental in founding.

A Suffolk drone pilot is hoping that a 20-minute film he has made of boats on the River Orwell and other Suffolk features will lead to a successful new business.

A person who was struck by a train in Haughley tonight has died, British Transport Police have confirmed.

The first graduates of the University of Suffolk since it secured independence status last year gathered in Ipswich today to celebrate years of hard work.

The Great British Bake Off contestants grappled with “forgotten” British bakes in tonight’s quarter-final.

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