Bury St Edmunds: Academy schools hit back at MP’s claim they are not co-operating with restructure

Academy schools hit back at MP's comments Academy schools hit back at MP's comments

Thursday, January 30, 2014
1:00 PM

Academy schools hit back at claim they are not co-operating with restructure

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A group of schools which are outside education reorganisation plans in the Bury St Edmunds area have refuted claims by an MP they have refused to co-operate with the move to abolish middle schools.

The Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust (BSEAT) is made up of County Upper School, Westley Middle and Horringer Court Middle Schools which are academies and Barrow CEVC Primary which is not an academy.

Suffolk County Council’s plans for other schools in the Bury area to move to a two-tier education system were consulted on at the end of last year.

Last week Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley met with headteachers of primary schools in the Bury Schools Partnership, which backs the move to the new structure.

He said in a statement: “The move to two tier in the Bury area has been complicated by the refusal of three academies to co-operate and go along with the democratic decision to abolish middle schools across the whole of Suffolk - a decision that 99% of my primary school heads implemented.”

But Dr Richard Fletcher, chairman of the BSEAT, said: “As part of the ‘democratic’ process the local authority has been consulting about its proposed change to two tier in Bury St Edmunds. No decision has yet been taken on this change.

“The BSEAT has not refused to co-operate but has engaged actively with the consultation process, despite being effectively excluded by the local authority.”

Previously the EADT reported that County Upper headteacher Vicky Neale was prevented from addressing the public at a consultation event at Howard Middle School last year.

Phil Whiffing, of Suffolk County Council, had said he wanted all the meetings to be in the same format.

Dr Fletcher said the formation of the academy trust was supported by both the local authority and Mr Ruffley.

He said: “The School Organisation Review (SOR) allows for both ‘two-tier’ and ‘all-through’ models of education. The BSEAT has always made it clear that we believe ‘all-through’ is the best approach and is already producing outstanding results in Bury St Edmunds with no need for expensive and distracting re-organisation.”

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