Suffolk: Campaign group speaks of “uphill battle” for pause on move to two-tier education

A lively debate at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds las tweek during the public meeting called by the Suf

A lively debate at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds las tweek during the public meeting called by the Suffolk Action for Truth on the Schools Organisation Review - Credit: Andy Abbott

A CAMPAIGN group which has called on Suffolk County Council to pause the move to two-tier education has said the authority has “all the cards”.

A spokesman for Suffolk Action for Truth on SOR [School Organisation Review], known as SATS, has said the group is “disappointed” the county council will not be re-examining its decision to close middle schools in the Stowmarket area.

Last week the county council cabinet voted unanimously to close Stowmarket, Combs, Bacton and Needham Market Middle Schools. The Liberal Democrats tried to call the decision in, but this was rejected by the county council’s monitoring officer.

Speaking about SATS’ next move, a spokesman for the group said: “They [county council] have all the cards and it’s arranged in such a way they have control of it.” He added: “The evidence around Suffolk shows unless we can get to the situation where we get the schools’ adjudicator [involved] we don’t get anywhere.” But the spokesman admitted the only way they could get the schools’ adjudicator involved was if the cabinet had not come to a decision by the end of March. “Nobody in SATS is under the illusion we have anything other than a hugely uphill battle the whole way,” he said.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said the monitoring officer found information addressing to all of the grounds of the call-in was contained in the cabinet report, or previous reports, and the decision was in line with previous decisions. Graham Newman, cabinet member for education and young people at Suffolk County Council, said the authority followed legislation “to the letter” and that was why there was no requirement to get the adjudicator involved. “It’s a right and proper decision for the local authority to take.” He said the county council had the cards as it needed to make this change, citing Suffolk’s GCSE results this year.