Campaign launched to save schools

Parents have launched a protest campaign after community leaders decided to hand over the running of a new �32 million high school to an Essex company.

FELIXSTOWE: Parents have launched a protest campaign after community leaders decided to hand over the running of a new �32 million high school to an Essex company.

County councillors have agreed Felixstowe's new school - to open in four years' time - should be an academy run by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET).

Deben High and Orwell High will close and the school will be built on Orwell's campus, catering for 1,850 students aged 11 to 19.

Some parents though are furious at the decision and believe Felixstowe Learning Trust, put together by management at Deben and Orwell, should have won the bid and are writing to secretary of state for children, schools and families Ed Balls, asking him to reject the academy plan.

But councillors are adamant it is time for change and say the schools need to raise their game - and want to improve standards.

Parents at Deben have launched a petition and on Tuesday will be holding a meeting for parents at the school in Garrison Lane at 7.30pm.

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Pete Barnsley, spokesman for the Felixstowe Against an Academy School in the Town, said consultation on the issue of who would run the new school had been very poor.

“There were only two meetings and the publicity for them was appalling and confusing and we do not believe people understood the importance of what was happening,” he said.

“There is a lot of anger and frustration about the decision.

“We do not believe it is right for Felixstowe that our children's education should be handed over to a profit-based company, ignoring the local knowledge, huge improvements and good work being done by the current management.”

County schools portfolio holder Graham Newman said: “Where AET have been involved in schools, in the vast majority of cases they have quite transformed the outcome for the pupils and that is something I want to see for Felixstowe as well.”

Are you happy with the decision? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk