Bacton/Stowupland: Parents’ anger over meeting exclusion

PARENTS at a Suffolk middle school have been left frustrated after being denied access to a meeting to discuss the site’s future.

Bacton Middle School is part of the Stowupland pyramid and consultation is set to start in the autumn on plans to close the middle schools and change from a three-tier to a two-tier system.

The area is set to be the last to undergo the transition as part of a controversial county-wide schools organisation review overseen by Suffolk County Council. The process should have started already but stalled due to cost issues.

In a letter on the PTA section of the Bacton Middle School website, a PTA spokeswoman explained that an alternative “all-through” model of schooling had been presented to parents at a meeting at the school last Thursday.

She said parents were upset at not being allowed to present the plans in more detail to stakeholders at a closed meeting at Stowupland High School last night.

She said: “This model puts forward the idea of the seven schools in the Stowupland pyramid working as one school with an executive head but maintaining a head of school at each site. The current schools would stay on their sites but policies, budgets and ethos would all be set by the executive head, who would be accountable across the whole school. The ‘all-through’ model would minimise transfer dips, ease the whole moving school process and has no capital or revenue costs.”

She said there was evidence of the system proving successful in other counties and it was clear at last week’s meeting that many parents were not aware of it but found it “preferable” to the two-tier structure of schooling favoured by the county council.

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She added: “They [the parents] were also unaware of the stakeholders meeting on Tuesday, June 26 at Stowupland High School where the only option for consultation is the two-tier model. This was not felt to be democratic.”

A spokesman for the county council said: “The stakeholder meeting is to discuss proposals for the future structure of schools in the area – prior to public consultation in August.

“In no way has any structure been agreed and there will certainly be ample opportunities for parents and members of the public to express their views in the coming months.”

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