Talks over teenagers' education

COUNTY education chiefs today confirmed they are “locked in discussions” until next month on the future of schooling for Suffolk's teenagers. Expected to end in a few weeks time, the discussions between schools and the Local Education Authority (LEA) - Suffolk County Council - have been organised to review the whole of the county's secondary education provision.

COUNTY education chiefs today confirmed they are “locked in discussions” until next month on the future of schooling for Suffolk's teenagers.

Expected to end in a few weeks time, the discussions between schools and the Local Education Authority (LEA) - Suffolk County Council - have been organised to review the whole of the county's secondary education provision.

Cllr Patricia O'Brien, who is responsible for children, schools and young people's services, said: "The challenge in Suffolk and nationally is to raise the aspirations, participation and achievement of our young people so that they are ready to take their place in society.

“I'm pleased that schools are looking at this area of development to see what they can contribute to these aims."

A spokesman for the council said: “It is a work in progress at the moment and they are locked in discussions at the moment. It is a process that is expected to end next month.

“After that we will be in a position to announce more details about the LEA's thinking on 14-19-year-old provision.

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“It is not just about sixth forms. We must get the right provision for young people in Ipswich and across the county so they have the opportunities to reach their potential.”

The spokesman said some 'radical' ideas, such as merging sixth forms, are being talked about.

He added: “Schools and training providers will be identifying the priority targets for their area but there is a long way to go before a decision is made about the specifics of how the education system in Suffolk could be changed.”

In Felixstowe, Deben and Orwell High Schools run a joint sixth form, with students spread across both sites, attending some lessons at each.

Peter Tomkins, head of Orwell High, said: “We have had some initial discussions in the Felixstowe area but that is as far as it has gone at present.

“The current set up we have is very successful, combining the strengths of two large schools with all the facilities we have across both sites and yet with some students based in each school we retain the advantages of a small school.”

What do you think about education in Suffolk? Should it be overhauled? Tell us your ideas by writing to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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