Childrens’ education could be disrupted by school uncertainty - warning

THE education of an entire generation of children could be disrupted in the uncertainty over the reorganisation of Suffolk’s schools, it is feared.

Andrew Nicholson, headteacher of Beyton Middle School, near Thurston, said while consultation was due to take place in the spring, he had been told the changes would still take place in 2015.

He said: “The reason they have done it is there’s so much uncertainty in the system with the change of Government so they have worked on the basis that by delaying the consultation for another term things will become clear.

“I don’t think that’s the case necessarily. They have diagnosed the problem, but they haven’t put the solution in place.”

He said there was uncertainty around how the Government’s plans for academies and free schools would impact on the school organisation review.

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But he said the longer the process went on “the more damaging’’ it would become as a whole generation of children’s education would be disrupted.

Also, the constant changing of timescales meant the school could not forward plan, he said.

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The headteacher believed the whole process in this area needed to be delayed by a few years until there was more clarity.

Jim Neale, headteacher of Needham Market Middle School, believed the reorganisation should be delayed for a few years to give stability to schools and pupils.

He said: “Realistically, there’s not going to be the money,” he said. “It really isn’t a sensible decision to put things on hold now.”

Schools were producing letters for parents to explain the current situation yesterday.

Mr Neale said parents would be pleased the plans had been put on hold.

“The parents don’t want middle schools to close,” he said. “They think it’s a joke. They will be very relieved to hear this news.”

Alison Nicholson, headteacher of Bacton Community Middle School, said many of her staff were uncertain what their futures held.

“There’s a huge amount of uncertainty and it makes everything extremely difficult,” she said.

“It does make people question being in teaching but staff here are very committed, excellent teachers and want the best for the children.”

Anna Richards, headteacher of Ixworth CEVC Primary School, said of the delay: “I think certainly for the primary school sector we are in a slightly different situation.

“Our schools are expanding ultimately. It’s much easier for us to cope with than perhaps some of our middle school colleagues.”

She added: “From our point of view we will carry on doing our best for the children that are here and the children that come to us in the future whenever that may be.”

Editorial comment – Page 22

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