Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 13°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Bury St Edmunds: Howard Middle School ‘severs ties’ with Bury Schools Partnership in school organisation review row

21:59 06 March 2014

Howard Middle School

Howard Middle School

A middle school fighting closure in Bury St Edmunds has split from the group driving the controversial move to two-tier that would have led to its demise.

Howard Middle School chair of governors Sue George made the dramatic announcement tonight that the school had severed its ties with the Bury Schools Partnership and was linking up with the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust.

Mrs George said she felt the schools partnership’s objective was to “force a move to two-tier”, and represents the latest act of rebellion against Suffolk County Council’s school organisation review (SOR) by Howard Middle and Tollgate Primary.

Last month both schools applied to become academies sponsored by the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust, which is headed by their closest high school, County Upper.

County councillor Sarah Stamp defended the schools partnership during tonight’s Our Place forum meeting, insisting it had a “very clear vision” for success.

But the SOR plans, and particularly Howard Middle and Tollgate Primary’s inclusion in them, came under intense scrutiny again as momentum gathers for them to be allowed to opt out of the proposed changes.

Mrs George said: “When we joined the Bury Schools Partnership we believed it was about raising the bar, no school is an island, teaching and learning.

“It wasn’t about forcing a move to two-tier, but that became blatantly very clear, so we’ve taken our decision and we’re going with the academy trust for as long as we’re allowed to.”

It is just the latest twist to the ongoing SOR saga as this week Suffolk County Council was accused of “acting outside its own constitution” after statutory notices were published announcing it had reached the next stage, despite the plans not yet having official approval.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet made the decision to approve SOR on February 25 - the same day statutory notices were “sent to the papers” by the council for publication on February 28.

This would have paved the way for a further four-week period of consultation - beginning with the publication of statutory notices - before the council finally made the decision.

However, Labour councillors called the decision in on February 26.

As their call-in was accepted, the process was supposed to be put on hold until it was approved by the council’s scrutiny committee, which meets on Wednesday.

A council spokesman said it was too late to recall the statutory notices and they had been advised to continue, but said they would be republished and the consultation would restart if and when the decision is approved.

But a spokeswoman from campaign group Best for Bury said: “At present it looks as though Suffolk County Council is acting outside its own constitution having published notices after the decision was called in.

“Given the uncertainty around Tollgate and Howard Middle, and the potential impact of the respective outcomes on the whole linked proposal, it leaves the public and indeed decision makers with limited time to digest, consider - decipher, even - what in fact is being proposed and, more importantly, what is now possible.”

County councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer, said that the local authority looked like “it had lost control”.

He added: “The council needs to be quite honest about the fact it’s not in control, because now things have gone down their own road with the government’s new education policy.

“You have academies, you have this opt-out situation, and we have this crazy situation at Tollgate. The whole thing seems very messy.”

But Mrs Stamp said it was only a perception that the council had lost control, adding: “I think the authority is absolutely in control and it has a very clear vision of where it’s going, and the Bury Schools Partnership also have a very clear vision of where they’re going.

“The process has been smoother in Bury, it’s been vastly superior to what it was elsewhere.”

0 comments

The White Hart pub in High Street, Saxmundham.

A public meeting has been called in Saxmundham to try to put together a £450,000-plus community bid to buy a closed down town centre pub.

Pc Andy Masterson checks motorists speeds on the A140 at Stonham Parva.

Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner has said he is ‘sick of arrogant drivers’ after the number of motorists clocked travelling at 100mph-plus trebled in a year.

The Marquis of Cornwallis, pictured in 2006, which is near where the crash happened.

Emergency services are currently at the scene of a single vehicle crash near to the Marquis of Cornwallis pub in Layham.

Crowds enjoyed the sunshine at Ipswich Music Day 2015 in Christchurch Park.
Stetsons are Cool got the crowd dancing.

From live music and open air cinemas to art, sport and stunt displays, Ipswich has a packed programme of family fun lined up this summer.

Ipswich Choral Society

An evening of music and poetry will celebrate a love of all things Shakespeare by the Ipswich Choral Society in Blakenham Woodland Garden next week.

Clangers founder and conductor Sue Pollington with Eleni Sargeant, 13, the youngest Clanger and the oldest hand bell ringer Muriel Ricks

When a group of handbell ringers got together seven years ago, naming themselves after the whistling hand-knitted 1970s TV characters The Clangers seemed a perfect choice.

Pigs Gone Wild Project Manager Norman Lloyd and Head of Property for the East of England Cooperative Stuart McDonald try to round up the pigs escaping the warehouse.

If you go down to Ipswich tomorrow, you are sure of a big surprise.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24