Stowmarket/Stowupland: Suffolk County Council to consider future of schools

THE results of a public consultation into the future of schools in the Stowmarket and Stowupland areas are set to be considered by the county council’s cabinet.

Cabinet members will consider the results of the nine-week consultation on a school by school basis and have been recommended to approve the controversial closure of all middle schools in the area.

The middle schools at Combs, Needham Market, Stowmarket and Bacton would be set to close under the recommendation.

The Combs Middle School site would be made available for an additional primary school.

The future of Bacton Middle School’s site would be subject to a further consultation.

Primary schools would increase their age range to 4-11 years.

And both Stowmarket and Stowupland High Schools would increase its age range from 11-18 years.

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Councillor Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education and young people, said: “I am absolutely committed to improving attainment levels across all local authority schools in Suffolk, and the proposed reorganisation of schools in the Stowmarket and Stowupland areas are a crucial part of making those improvements a reality.

“We have spent almost nine weeks collecting responses from school governors, members of staff and members of the public on the best way to restructure the current situation to a two-tier system and I remain committed that introducing two-tier system is one of the greatest things we can do to improve educational attainment for our children.

“I would like to assure those parents who fear the potential for a drop in standards whilst these changes are implemented that the opposite has happened in areas that have already moved to a two-tier system.

“This is because the county council provides additional support to schools specifically to ensure that attainment levels aren’t affected during the transfer period, and that the transition is as smooth as possible. Where the schools’ organisation review has been completed, in some areas such as Haverhill, an increase of 9% in Key Stage Two results has been seen.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that similar improvements are possible right across the county, even in schools that already do well.”

If the cabinet approves the recommendations, notices will be published setting out the proposals for each school.

These statutory notices allow for a six week period for people to submit their views to the council. Cabinet will then review the representations again and will make a final decision in February 2013.

A full version of the report which lay out proposals for each school is available from

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