Parents rally to stop school closures

PARENTS have taken to the streets in a bid to stop a radical shake-up of Suffolk's education system, which could see all middle schools closed. Campaigns have been launched county-wide as Suffolk County's Council looks set to press ahead with plans to axe its 40 middle schools and switch to a two-tier system of just primaries and secondaries.

PARENTS have taken to the streets in a bid to stop a radical shake-up of Suffolk's education system, which could see all middle schools closed.

Campaigns have been launched county-wide as Suffolk County's Council looks set to press ahead with plans to axe its 40 middle schools and switch to a two-tier system of just primaries and secondaries.

But on Saturday, parents from Haverhill who are against the move were drumming up support from shoppers.

The parents from Parkway Middle School used a busy market day to run a petition stall against moving to a two-tier system.


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Rachel Clarke, mother-of-three, said the parents from Parkway Middle were determined to fight the changes.

“I decided to have a stall with the petition because market day is a busy day and people are not at work so we can get more signatures. We spoke to so many people who thought the decision had been made and there was no point in opposing it.

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“We were raising awareness that we can still do something about it - we are not going to stop fighting these changes. My 10-year-old son, Christopher, wanted me to go to the meeting about the proposed changes; he is concerned about having to be at school with 18-year-olds.

“He was bullied once when he was in primary school so much I had to change his school - it is a big concern for me that he could be in a school with 18-year-olds, they are adults.”

The county council's cabinet backed the plans last week, and the full council makes a final decision in March. If agreed, school closures could start in 2009.

Mrs Clarke added she would be devastated if the full council decide to approve plans.

“We had lots of support from the public, grandmothers and even a great grandmother - they don't want to see the children's education go through more disruption.

“My 13 year-old daughter now wants to be a solicitor so she can fight these things, she went through a three-tier education system and she is now an A* student. I think the system helped her.”

The petition will be sent to Suffolk County Council in time for the full council meeting to decide whether to approve the proposals on March 22.

The council says it wants to make the changes because pupils going through a two-tier system tend to achieve better results than those in a three-tier. It will also save £4.4m a year.

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