Bury St Edmunds: Pupil, nine, starts her own petition to try and save St Louis Catholic Middle School

Lexie Gedge (9) is pictured with her petition against the planned closure of St Louis Middle in Bury. Lexie Gedge (9) is pictured with her petition against the planned closure of St Louis Middle in Bury.

Thursday, December 12, 2013
1:00 PM

A girl has launched her own petition in the hope of getting the voices of pupils heard over plans to close their school.

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Lexie Gedge, nine, attends St Louis Catholic Middle School in Bury St Edmunds which is threatened with closure due to proposed changes to the structure of education.

Public consultation ends tomorrow on plans for the Catholic schools in the town, as well as most of the non-Catholic schools in the Bury area, to move to two-tier education.

Year five pupil Lexie, who has collected at least 70 names so far, said she launched her petition because “St Louis is a really good school and I would like my little brother to be able to be able to go there”.

She said she had mainly collected names from students in her year, adding: “We won’t be able to finish at our school and we want to be able to go through all the years.”

She spoke of how much she enjoyed attending St Louis middle, mentioning the “really good” facilities and equipment, homework and subject material.

Her mother Katharine Gedge, from Bury, said: “She just really felt she wanted to do it. She’s a year five and has only been there since September and absolutely loves it.

“She sees it as they are taking her school away and doesn’t want to lose it because she has made new friends and there’s clubs and all the facilities she really enjoys.”

Mrs Gedge, a mother-of-two, explained her daughter would be in year seven when the school closed in 2016 - if the plans go ahead - and would then stay on the St Louis site if she attended St Benedict’s Catholic School.

The plan is to teach year sevens and eights from St Benedict’s at the current St Louis site until funding becomes available to expand the upper school, in Beetons Way.

Mrs Gedge said: “It’s unrealistic to think that’s not going to change her education. I’m very worried about it. It seems such a shame.”

At a consultation event at St Louis middle last week Joy Stodart, from Suffolk County Council, said that in areas where two tier had already been introduced in the county standards at middle schools had not dropped while they were in the closure process.

“We know perfectly well there will be a focus on these children and standards will not suffer, the reason for that is the profound professionalism and commitment school staff have to the children in their care,” she said.