Another nail in Suffolk middle school's coffin

CLOSURE notices for Stoke By Nayland middle school are set to be published after members of the county's cabinet decided to go ahead with the reorganisation of schools in the Stour valley.

CLOSURE notices for a Suffolk middle school are set to be published after politicians decided to press ahead with the reorganisation of schools in the Stour Valley.

Members of Suffolk County Council's cabinet backed plans to switch from a three to two-tier system for the Sudbury area - a move which will see Stoke By Nayland middle and All Saints middle in Sudbury closed and Great Cornard middle and Uplands middle absorbed into the high schools that share their sites.

Parents and teachers from Stoke By Nayland are still hoping to retain the 480-pupil school as an 11-16 year school in the reoganisation.

Graham Newman, councillor resonsible for children and young people, would not rule out such a move - but said it would endanger the viability of other schools in the area.

He said: “Pupils will be going to Great Cornard Upper which has a pass rate at GCSE eight per cent higher than the national average, had an excellent Ofsted report and has a fine headteacher.

“We would not want to jeopardise that or any of the other high schools in the area - Hadleigh, East Bergholt or those across the border in Essex - in this way.”

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But local councillor James Finch said parents in Stoke were worried about pupils going to too large a school at 11 years old.

“For a rural area like this, a school with 1,000 pupils seems very large indeed,” he said.

The notices for the reorganisation of schools in the area will now be published before further discussions in May. If finally approved the closure of Stoke middle will start in September 2012 and it will finally close in 2013.