Stowmarket: Suffolk County Council’s decision to close middle schools is formally challenged

School pupils sitting exams

School pupils sitting exams - Credit: PA

Suffolk County Council’s decision to close middle schools in the Stowmarket area will be formally challenged.

An application of judicial review has been served on the council over its controversial decision to move from three-tier to two-tier schooling.

The move to close the four middle schools in the area - Bacton, Needham Market, Stowmarket and Combs - has faced strong opposition from parent and teacher groups.

Graham White, branch secretary for the National Union of Teachers in Suffolk, said he “welcomed” the review.

He said: “If the school changes are worth doing then why is the county council spending less money on pupils in Stowmarket? Are the children not worth as much? I have real concerns about the school changes. The changes are political and have nothing to do with education.

“There’s no reason why you cannot have a two-tier and three-tier system. They are both really good systems, it’s not just about the systems its about money, resources and teachers.”

The county council has argued the two-tier system is better for youngsters as students outperform those studying in a three-school system.

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It voted unanimously to close the middle schools in February following public meetings with parents.

A county council spokeswoman said: “We are confident that due process was followed and all relevant factors were properly considered by cabinet. We intend to defend our position robustly and, as is usual in these circumstances, have engaged counsel to represent the us. In the meantime, the implementation of the cabinet decision continues.”