Fresh hope for threatened school

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a village school in Suffolk say they are optimistic following a meeting with a county council education chief.

Jonathan Schofield

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save a village school in Suffolk say they are optimistic following a meeting with a county council education chief.

Stoke-by-Nayland Middle School is one of those set to close when Suffolk County Council moves from a three-tier to a two-tier education system.

But a campaign group insists the high-achieving school should be turned into a secondary school to retain educational facilities in the village.

They recently met with Graham Newman, the county council's portfolio holder for children, schools, and young people's services, to submit their proposal.

Ronan Connolly, of the SOS Stoke-by-Nayland campaign group, said the response from Mr Newman had given the group confidence and they were eagerly anticipating the council's response.

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Mr Connolly said: “We have put together a very good proposal which sets out the educational, economic and social benefits of keeping the school. We met for over an hour-and-a-half and felt we were given a very fair hearing.”

The group's proposal sets out a range of benefits in keeping the school. Under the current proposals by Suffolk County Council, the school would be closed and pupils would go to schools in the Sudbury area.

Mr Connolly said it would require another 795 additional places at Cornard and Sudbury Upper Schools.

“Under our proposals for three secondary schools, including Stoke-by-Nayland, only 315 places would be needed - making savings of around �8.87million for the county council,” he added.

Mr Newman said it was a good meeting and the 30 page proposal presented by the group was an excellent and well reasoned business case that he assured would be looked at in great detail.

He said: “We have just come to the end of a three month consultation stage and will now be analysing all the response we have received. This document goes way beyond filling out a form and will be a key part of any decision made.”