Thurston: No college jobs for middle school staff

JOBS are no longer available for about 50 staff from closing middle schools at the college in the area, its principal has said.

The change from three-tier to two-tier education in the Thurston area means three middle schools will close in 2014: Blackbourne in Stanton, Ixworth and Beyton.

There would have been about 50 jobs available to staff from the closing middle schools at Thurston Community College, which is expanding, but college principal Helen Wilson said plans for a free school at the Ixworth site meant she could no longer offer the forward contracts.

The forward contracts would have meant those middle school staff had a job to go to at the college when their school closed. They are available, however, for about 10 staff from the middle schools at the primary schools in the pyramid.

Miss Wilson said the “problem” with the proposed free school – which was put forward by parents – was the timing as it is planned to open in 2014 when the college is taking on two extra year groups.

The college would have fewer students than expected, Miss Wilson said, “so therefore we cannot employ all of these middle school staff”.

But, she said if plans for the free school were delayed she could guarantee the contracts.

Most Read

She also said potential changes to school transport, which could see pupils receiving free transport to their nearest school, could also affect college numbers.

The college and the 17 primary schools in the pyramid came together to push ahead with two-tier, and the move was rubber-stamped by Suffolk County Council.

The consultation document, which was produced by the county council working with the partnership, included the possibility of a free school at Ixworth or Stanton.

Glenice Francis, headteacher of Ixworth Middle, said: “Even before the consultation document was drawn up there was a real possibility of a free school setting up here and I really feel it’s failure from the outset in terms of their strategic planning that has brought us to this stage.”

Parent Stephen Larder, of the free school group, said parents supportive of the free school were keen for the school to open as soon as possible.

“It would defeat the object to some extent to delay the opening of the free school and the consultation document for the Thurston reorganisation was very clear: the free school planned to open in 2014,” he said.

“So I’m somewhat bemused by the fact this is now an issue when nothing has actually changed since the consultation itself.”

For more on this story, see the link above right.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter