Newts delay school plans
Controversial plans to change Lowestoft’s schools system have hit a further setback as the discovery of endangered newts will delay the opening of the town’s new high school until 2012.
Great crested newts have been found on the proposed site of the new 900 pupil Pakefield High School and now Suffolk County Council has confirmed that the building will not be ready to take pupils in September next year.
The council is restructuring the county’s education system, moving it from three to two tiers, and Lowestoft’s schools will be among the first to change from September 2011.
However pupils who were expecting to start in Year Nine at the newly-built school, where Pakefield Middle School currently stands, in September 2011 have now been told that they will have to go to one of the existing Lowestoft high schools instead.
Year Seven and Eight pupils will use the existing Pakefield Middle School building until the first phase of the new high school is ready, and the year groups will then filter into the new school from 2012.
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The news, which follows the recent announcement that some middle school pupils and teachers will be moved up to Kirkley High School a year earlier than planned, has been criticised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT)
But Graham Newman, the county council’s portfolio-holder for children, schools and young people’s services, said: “It’s not good news, but it is totally unavoidable. We’ve been told that we should be able to get the building ready by September 2012. In the mean time, we have to satisfy all of our environmental obligations and an alternative home has to be found for the newts.”
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