Save St Louis

THE East Anglian Daily Times is today launching a campaign to save one of Suffolk’s most popular schools from closure.

In a move which has shocked parents and supporters, St Louis Middle School in Bury St Edmunds is due to close in 2013.

Rated outstanding by Ofsted earlier this year, the school is one of the best-performing in the county.

But education chiefs at the East Anglian Diocese have ruled the much-loved middle school will be axed in 2013, to become part of a Catholic two-tier system.

Parents, supporters and pupils have united to fight the closure, staging a heating public meeting and candle-lit vigil.

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Today, the EADT is urging readers to get behind the bid to save St Louis.

Russell Cook, west Suffolk editor of the EADT, said: “St Louis Middle is one of our finest schools.

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“Yes, Suffolk County Council has made a decision to close Bury’s middle schools in 2017 and yes, we appreciate that when the town’s middle schools close St Louis will be one of them.

“But why shut one of Suffolk’s best schools four years early?

“That is the question parents are asking.

“That’s the question many in the town are asking.

“We know the depth of feeling the diocesan decision to close this fine school early has aroused. “Today, the EADT launches its campaign in support of the parents, pupils and staff at the school to Save St Louis.”

News of the shock closure broke in November, when Rev Roger Sparks, chairman of the East Anglia Diocesan Schools’ Service Commission wrote to parents, telling them St Louis Middle will close in September 2013.

St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury will become an 11-18 school and the town’s St Edmunds school will become a primary for children aged four to 11 years old.

But defiant parents and supporters want to stall the closure until the Suffolk County Council Schools Organisation Review (SOR) to abolish all 40 middle schools in the county reaches Bury in 2017.

A petition drawn up to fight the proposed closure has attracted more than 100 signatures in just a few days.

Bernadine Miller, a parent with children at both St Louis and St Edmunds Primary, said: “People are really sad. St Louis is such a fantastic school.

“It is great the EADT is getting behind the campaign.

“It gets the message out that it’s not dead in the water.”

A consultation into the closure is due to take place in January but EADT readers can show their support by signing a petition against the closure at our office in Woolhall Street, Bury.

Mrs Miller also urged parents and supporters to write to the diocese to express their determination to fight on.

“It is not about saving St Louis forever,” she said.

“We realise the middle schools battle is lost but we want a proper consultation.

“St Louis is worth fighting for.”

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