Council criticised over school plan snub

A DISGRUNTLED county councillor has criticised her own authority for failing to back ambitious plans to build a community college on the grounds of a doomed middle school.

Dave Gooderham

A DISGRUNTLED county councillor has criticised her own authority for failing to back ambitious plans to build a community college on the grounds of a doomed middle school.

Jane Midwood admitted she was “desperately disappointed” by Suffolk County Council after it turned down plans for the new school in Clare.

County council chiefs dismissed a 1,500-page proposal by campaigners claiming there was “no evidence of the need for additional secondary school places in the area”.


You may also want to watch:


Pupils in Clare and the surrounding villages now face the prospect of moving to upper schools in Haverhill when their middle school is closed as part of Suffolk's plans to adopt a two-tier education system.

But Mrs Midwood said: “I am very concerned about the situation and desperately disappointed that the country council has not backed the new school.

Most Read

“I believe the council is being very inflexible and going against the wishes of so many local people who are not being listened to.

“The CLARE action group's proposals and the amount of work they have done have been absolutely exemplary. But it seems the county council's position on this has been completely set in stone. I am very disappointed by my own authority.”

The Clare and Local Area for Rural Education (CLARE) described the council's decision as a “wasted opportunity” and called on the public to show their disgust.

In an “open Christmas message” on behalf of the community in and around the town, campaigners said they remained “highly sceptical” about the county council's educational plans for the future.

The statement said: “We would challenge Suffolk County Council's assertion that the decision represents parental preference in our communities - 1,200 families in our community disagree.

“There is unanimous support in Clare and surrounding villages for the evolution of Clare Middle School into Stour Valley Community College between now and 2011.”

The county council wants to establish a two-tier education system across the whole of the county, leading to the abolition of all 40 middle schools.

From August 2011, secondary school pupils from Clare are expected to attend one of the two upper schools in Haverhill.

In a letter to the CLARE committee, Rosalind Turner, the county council's director for children and young people, said: “There is no evidence of the need for additional secondary school places in the area. Local secondary schools already provide high quality education.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter