Bury St Edmunds: Schools partnership launches with aim of smooth transition to two-tier

Geoff Barton, head at King Edward VI in Bury St Edmunds

Geoff Barton, head at King Edward VI in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

A NEW schools partnership has been launched in Bury St Edmunds with the aim of making sure the transition from three-tier to two-tier education is as smooth as possible.

The Bury Schools Partnership - which is made up of 19 schools in the area - says teachers from across the schools will be “working closely together” and keeping their focus on “the progress and wellbeing of all of our children, whatever their age and background”.

Yesterday, 320 teachers from across the partnership attended a conference at King Edward VI School which focused on great teaching.

Geoff Barton, headteacher of King Edward VI School, said: “We know the county council has taken the decision to move to two-tier and inevitably in some of the schools there are people that disagree with it.

“What we are saying as school leaders and teachers is we are going to make this about pupils and not get embroiled in political issues. “We are going to keep children and parents at the heart of it so we can do it as smoothly as possible.”

Mr Barton said achieving a smooth transition would involve staff learning from each other - for example about age groups they currently do not teach - to raise standards as well as planning the curriculum for a two-tier system.

He said they had been assured by the county council there would be funding available for a new secondary school which would be needed as well as the extra primary school classrooms.

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Public consultation on the move to two-tier in the Bury area is due to take place in the autumn and, if plans are approved, middle schools would be due to close in August 2016.

Mr Barton said: “Our aim is to make this as smooth as we possibly can so parents can be reassured their children will not be disadvantaged.”

He said the schools in the Bury St Edmunds Academy Trust - County Upper School, Horringer Court Middle School and Westley Middle School in Bury and Barrow CEVC Primary School - are not part of the partnership, which is being chaired by Sue Herriott, headteacher of Guildhall Feoffment Community Primary School.

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