Fight continues to set up new secondary school in village
A Suffolk education spokesman has insisted the closure of a high achieving middle school will go ahead as planned but has promised to support a campaign group attempting to transform it into a secondary school.
Members of the SOS Stoke by Nayland campaign group say the new Government’s policy pledge of “free schools” backed by their re-elected MP Tim Yeo will save the school from being scrapped.
For the past six months the group has fought for the right to establish a high school in Stoke by Nayland when the current middle school closes in three years.
Campaign member Sally Connolly said she was excited the new Government’s policy on education would enable them to save the school.
Ahead of a Suffolk County Council cabinet meeting next Tuesday which will discuss the issue of establishing an 11-16 “free school” in the village, Mrs Connolly said: “Our community wants to see a manageable sized high school in Stoke by Nayland. In these times of public sector funding cuts our proposal offers a cost effective solution for our area and should minimise the pressure on other schools.”
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The cabinet meeting next week will also discuss changes to the schools in Sudbury and Great Cornard and details of planning consent for any building work prior to the change from three tier to two tier in 2013.
The meeting follows an announcement at the weekend that the Department for Education is to begin a review of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, and that any projects not already under way will have to be re-examined due to the financial restraints for the new Government.
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Graham Newman, county councillor with responsibility for children and schools, said the case for a two-tier system had already been won.
He said: “We need a system that will encourage teachers to come into the county where they know they will have a career progression that is uniform across the country.
“With regard to the “free school” we stand ready to help Stoke by Nayland assemble a business plan for a school for 11-16 year olds but that’s now a completely different project to the change from three to two tier.”
He warned that a decision might be out of the county council’s hands and the new Education Secretary Michael Gove – a keen advocate of “free schools” – could not “splash out dosh” without a sound business plan.