May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Matt Gaw
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
CAMPAIGNERS are calling for headteachers, governors and parents to attend a meeting on the future of education in west Suffolk.
The meeting, at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, has been organised by Suffolk Action for Truth on SOR (SATS), which is calling on the county council to pause its Schools Organisation Review (SOR).
A spokeswoman for SATS, said Suffolk County Council’s consultation with parents has so far been “poor” and said she hoped Sue Cook - the new director of children and young people’s services - would be at the meeting.
She added: “We want to gather together everybody that is interested in education and also how scarce resources are being spent on education. It’s an open meeting, everyone can come, no matter what there previously held opinions might be, and we have data that we believe shows that SOR has not delivered what it said it would.”
SATS welcomed the approach outlined by Ms Cook but said a “fixation” with getting rid of the third tier is “costly and damaging.”
The spokeswoman added: “We are delighted that she has an aspirational vision for Suffolk which includes reclaiming a top 25 position in the national rankings. However, we are concerned that a preliminary step towards this is the completion of SOR. In response to this we would draw attention to the fact that in 2001 Suffolk was near to the Top 25. At this time, schools were a mix of two and three tier.
“It’s not actually shown to be working so why do it in areas that don’t really need it anyway?”
Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Councils cabinet member for education and young people said: “Completing the School Organisation Review is an integral part of the Raising the Bar programme, not an alternative. Every single school in the Stowmarket and Stowupland areas, excluding the middle schools, is anxious to complete the programme and indeed promoted the proposal to the county council. You need only look at the most recent results in Haverhill and Lowestoft to see significant improvement in key stage two results, following reorganisation.
“Changes to funding for smaller, village primary schools is such that making them more sustainable through expansion will help to ensure their future. Any indecision will only serve to disincentives new teacher, and head teacher, recruitment. There is a raft of proposals coming forward in the Raising the Bar initiative which will affect all Suffolk schools. This has to be driven by schools themselves, supported by the county council.” The meeting will take place between 6pm and 8pm on February 25.