School camapigners told 'stop fighting'

EDUCATION bosses say campaigners concerned about the closure of middle schools in Suffolk should stop fighting and move on.And Rosalind Turner, director for children and young people with the county council, warned unions considering strikes that their actions would only harm children's education.

By John Howard

EDUCATION bosses say campaigners concerned about the closure of middle schools in Suffolk should stop fighting and move on.

And Rosalind Turner, director for children and young people with the county council, warned unions considering strikes that their actions would only harm children's education.

As reported in the EADT on Saturday, teaching unions are assessing what action is open to them in the aftermath of the authority last week voting through a £23 million reorganisation of education, which will see the county's 40 middle schools closed.


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Martin Goold, county secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), is waiting for the detail of the proposals to emerge but has said that if members were disadvantaged, strike action and industrial unrest would be a possibility.

The union insists that the county council need to consider a considerable financial and career stability package to entice middle school teachers to stay in Suffolk.

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The NUT is also now pursuing the authority's “concession” that it would be prepared to look at the possibility of making middle schools Key Stage 3 annexes for children in years seven to nine.

But Ms Turner, who is meeting with unions tomorrow to address concerns, said: “It is not good for staff, parents or children if people carry on fighting the battle.

“The decision has been made, it is time to get behind it and move forward. Any strike action would disadvantage children and they would not get the education they deserve.

“We must maintain stability for children now. We want to reassure staff that their needs will be taken into account.”

And Allison Coleman, chairwoman of the Suffolk Governors Forum which represents about 4,000 governors across the county, said she believed the two-tier education system was the best way forward.

She said: “This is about delivering the best education system in Suffolk. I understand people's concerns, any change brings concern.

“But the change will be the best for the young people in the county.”

Their comments came as more than 100 people from schools across Suffolk attended a conference on Saturday at Trinity Park, near Ipswich.

The event was part of Suffolk County Council's work around the Building Schools for the Future programme, which aims to rebuild or refurbish secondary schools across the county during the next ten to 15 years.

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