Parents anger over two-tier education

A HUGE row has broken out over what parents are claiming is a "two-tier" education system at their daughter's school.Deben High headteacher Terry Ring has dismissed the claims, which arose from a reorganisation brought in by the school to help battle cash shortages.

A HUGE row has broken out over what parents are claiming is a "two-tier" education system at their daughter's school.

Deben High headteacher Terry Ring has dismissed the claims, which arose from a reorganisation brought in by the school to help battle cash shortages.

The Felixstowe school is now split in two, leading to fears of a higher and lower stream.

Mr Ring admitted most of the school's children needing in-class support were in one half and most of the dozen-or-so very able children were in the other.

But he said this in no way affects the education of the other children and merely enables him to focus resources on those who need it without over-stretching the bank balance.

Mandy and Glenn Edwards have challenged the new system. They claim their 13-year-old daughter Frances is being held back after being lumped in with the school's low achievers.

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Frances has been given just two lots of maths homework and three lots of English homework since September.

Mrs Edwards said: "Some children are disadvantaged.

"I think it's very unfair. I know my daughter's not doing as well as she should be doing, but I can't prove it.

"We've paid for a maths tutor, but we might as well have thrown the money straight in the bin - she's only been given two lots of homework since September."

Some indication of the moves ahead was given in a small in the school newsletter last July, but there was no full explanation given.

Mrs Edwards became suspicious when she learned Frances' new class had 17 boys and just six girls.

She said: "I believe there's now a two-tier system of education. It's not just about my daughter, it's the whole system.

"I don't feel I've got the energy to fight for other people's children, but I have to because I know it's right."

Mr Ring said: "Some classes were reorganised at the start of this academic year. This was in order to increase the amount of in-class support for children who required it.

"It is not true that the year group has been divided into two halves of different ability and all form groups are of mixed ability.

"In some subjects we do set by ability, but we are definitely not operating a two-tier system. All pupils in the year are following the same curriculum.

"As parents are fully aware, the school has experienced some long-term staff absence, which has particularly affected maths.

"This has had am impact on homework, which has been discussed with a number of parents and we are working to address these issues.

"I would not wish to discuss any individual pupil in a public forum, but I have met the parents to address their concerns and would be very willing to do so again."

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