Fight to save middle school stepped up

PARENTS and residents in a north Suffolk town have vowed to continue their fight to save their middle school.

Lizzie Parry

PARENTS and residents in a north Suffolk town have vowed to continue their fight to save their middle school.

At a public meeting last week, around 100 members of the community packed out the hall at Saxmundham Middle School, which they are desperately trying to save from closure.

A working group made up of parents, teaching staff and governors claim Suffolk County Council's School Organisation Review could have a devastating effect on the children in the town.

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The county council is proposing to abolish the county's 40 middle schools and introduce a two-tier system across the whole of Suffolk.

The group said the closure of Saxmundham Middle School would result in 300 children facing a daily 11 mile round trip to Leiston High School.

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Belinda Moore, a member of the campaign group and governor at Saxmundham Primary School said the outcome of the meeting was resoundingly in favour of retaining post-11 education to continue in the town.

“Overwhelmingly the outcome of the meeting was that the people of Saxmundham want post 11 education to continue in Saxmundham on the site of the current middle school,” she said. “The meeting felt passionately that uncertainty about current plans, particularly the availability of Building Schools for the Future budget was damaging to the children of the community.

“Closure of the school would have a devastating effect on the community, not just for the children themselves, but for the many people who enjoy the facilities at Saxmundham Middle School for evening classes, community groups, sports, after school activities and so on.”

Campaigners want a commitment from the council to provide education up to Key Stage 3, up to the age of 14, on the site of the existing middle school in Saxmundham to ensure the town retains some form of educational facilities, reducing disruption and travel times for pupils and parents.

The working group is concerned hundreds of children from the area will miss out on valuable after school clubs due to difficulties accessing such facilities in Leiston, especially for those pupils whose parents are unable to drive their children the extra distance.

In the long term the group aims to work towards their goal of establishing a new school and community centre on the existing site.

It is hoped the facility would offer a range of post-14 diploma courses, adult education and community facilities.

The deadline for responses as part of the consultation is December 15.

Suffolk County Council says it needs to change the schools structure in the county to raise educational standards.

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