Parents take battle to county hall

ANGRY parents and teachers were today taking their battle to save Suffolk's middle schools to county hall in an eleventh hour bid to persuade education bosses to abandon closure plans.

ANGRY parents and teachers were today taking their battle to save Suffolk's middle schools to county hall in an eleventh hour bid to persuade education bosses to abandon closure plans.

And protesters vowed to continue their fight for “a generation” of pupils even if they fail to convince Suffolk County Council cabinet members to scrap the proposals to axe the county's 40 middle schools in favour of a two-tier education system.

If given the go ahead, the controversial proposals - which will cost 23m to implement - will go before a meeting of the full council for approval on March 22.

Patricia O'Brien, the county councillor in charge of education, has previously said any possible change would be about raising standards in all schools, and providing a better education for pupils.

But Steve Cowper of the group Parents Against Change (PAC), which has been lobbying against the move from a three-tier system in parts of the county, said: “This is not the end of the story if they decide to recommend the proposals.

“We will carry on fighting against it, and we hope to follow Bedfordshire's example - the cabinet recommended the changes and the full council rejected them.”

Most Read

He added that parents who wanted to keep the three-tier system in place were set to march on county hall today and protesting at the cabinet meeting to show how strongly they felt.

If recommended and passed the changes could also mean the closure of small village primary schools to make way for larger, more centralised schools, which could accommodate for the extra year groups needed if the plans go ahead.

David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, has called for another urgent meeting with Patricia O'Brien - the county councillor in charge of education - to discuss his concerns after a session last week failed to provide “satisfactory answers”.

Headteacher at Leiston Middle School, William Carson, said he had spent all of his teaching career in middle schools and wholeheartedly supported them.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “From the moment the review was started the process was to try and engage with as many people as possible.

“The policy development panel has included a vast collection of concerns and views. The cabinet will take the opportunity to assess the recommendations in order to arrive at the right decision for the future of Suffolk children.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter