Bacton: Parent hits out at school consultation

A PARENT has claimed Suffolk County Council’s schools consultation is just an “illusion” as the move to close middle schools will go ahead regardless.

Andrew Harvey, whose son attends Bacton Middle School, said he was left in “disbelief” after he attended a consultation meeting in the village near Stowmarket last week.

Mr Harvey, 38, of Pretyman Avenue, Bacton, claimed it was revealed in the meeting that even if the majority of people disagreed with the plan to close the middle schools, the council would still proceed with the move.

“For any parent or other interested party save yourself the time and effort as it appears your consultation is only worth the paper it is written on,” Mr Harvey said.

“You may be able to see two small paragraphs dedicated to the alternative all-through model hidden on page 10 of the 12-page document which is undeliverable according to Suffolk County Council.

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“Parents are not disagreeing with changes but the consultation process, which has one option and no alternatives, is being sold as the only option.

“No consideration is even being given to the option that has no additional cost and could save the council the �5.5million it has found to proceed with its reorganisation.”

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The county council argues that schools in a two-tier model perform better than ones in a three-tier structure.

Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is a genuine consultation and as has been the case in other parts of Suffolk, the views of parents and the schools are taken into account when making these important decisions.

“The county council agreed in 2007 that it would progress Suffolk’s education system to a two-tier model.

“The latest SATS results from schools which have gone through the School Organisation Review programme show the positive impact the changes are having on attainment. This consultation is therefore about how we make that change.

“The ‘all through model’ proposed by just one of the middle schools is not supported by a majority of headteachers and school governing bodies in the area so it is therefore not possible to consult on it.

“All the statistics show that children do better and progress faster in a two-tier education system and it is my responsibility to make sure our schools do the best by Suffolk’s young people.”

Further meetings have been organised by the council to discuss the plans at Stowupland High on October 2, The Freeman County Primary on October 11, and Bacton Primary on October 24.

The meetings all start at 7pm.

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