Schools back three-tier system

HEADTEACHERS and governors in north Suffolk have backed the three-tier school system - as fears have been voiced that middle schools could be under threat.

HEADTEACHERS and governors in north Suffolk have backed the three-tier school system - as fears have been voiced that middle schools could be under threat.

Education chiefs at Suffolk County Council have announced a wholesale review of schooling in the county, which, it was feared, could lead to the abolition of middle schools, resulting in a two-tier education system throughout Suffolk.

At the moment to the north of the county and to the west there is a three-tier system in place.

Since the announcement was made the 14 heads and 14 governing chairs of schools in the Bungay pyramid have met to discuss the issue, and produced a paper on how they see the future of education panning out over the next 40 years.

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The group represented the 14 schools which feed in to Bungay High School, including Edgar Sewter, Bramfield, Cookley and Walpole, Bungay, Holton St Peter, Wenhaston, Reydon and Southwold primary schools and Halesworth Middle and Bungay High School.

Dr Jean Macheath MBE, chairman of governors at Edgar Sewter, said everyone was in agreement that the three-tier system was the one which best served children in the semi-rural communities in north Suffolk.

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She added: “We met very much with open minds and were all in agreement. We have to look at education, not just for today, but for the next 20, 30, 40 years.

“We have to look at the type of area we live in, the background of our pupils and the excellent cross-working which is going on at the moment, as well as the issues facing rural areas.”

The papers said the three-tier system was best placed to serve the needs of north Suffolk children through:

nProvision of rural primaries within the communities they serve and maintain;

nMeeting the social, emotional, learning and development needs of young people as they progress through middle schools;

nProviding wider horizons as young people move seamlessly through the transition to the high school and beyond;

Dr Macheath said there were more options and flexibility within the three-tier system.

She said: “We looked at the possibility of pupils doing their GCSEs at middle school and then going to the high school.”

She added: “The needs of children around this rural area are very different to those of the children in, for example Kirkley where the school has far fewer schools feeding into it, but a far greater number of children attending.

“They do not have the bussing implications that we would have if we had to send these children to Bungay at 11 rather than 13. Bungay is already bursting at the seams as it is.”

The meeting was held with Halesworth Town Council and another meeting is to be held for all parents with all the heads and chairs of the governing bodies present to answer any questions parents might have.

That meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 12 at 7pm at Halesworth Middle School.

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