Upper and middle school poised to work even more closely together

Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI Upper School in Bury.

Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI Upper School in Bury. - Credit: Archant

The headteacher of a Bury St Edmunds upper school will oversee “standards and strategy” at a middle school which is earmarked for closure.

Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI, will become executive headteacher of Hardwick Middle School in the town from September as its current head, Andrea Smith, is retiring.

Mr Barton added a member of the King Edward VI School’s leadership team would become head of school at Hardwick to take charge of day-to-day work there.

In addition, there is likely to be a consultant head who has worked in middle schools who would help with the process. He said these moves should reassure parents, if Suffolk County Council’s cabinet decide on Tuesday to close the middle school, that staff would focus on continuing to raise standards and create opportunities for the students.

Mr Barton said: “I couldn’t be more thrilled about this development. I look forward to working closely with the students, staff, parents and governors of both our schools, and believe that this will be a hugely exciting phase of learning – for children and adults – as we keep building on the great work of our existing partnership.”


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Hardwick Middle and King Edward VI School already work closely together to ease the transfer of students between the schools and to provide a range of shared projects in sport, the arts, debating and student leadership.

One member of each school’s governing bodies will join the other school with immediate effect and the senior leadership team of the two schools will be merged.

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Phil Bowcher, chairman of governors at Hardwick, and Robin Burnett, chairman of governors at King Edward VI School, said both students and staff at the schools should benefit hugely.

Ms Smith said: “I am so sad to be leaving Hardwick after such a happy and successful time.

“However, I am delighted that the ground-breaking partnership with King Edward’s will now move even more to the centre of the work of both schools. The response of parents has been hugely positive.”

Hardwick, along with three other middle schools in the town, are planned to close as part of a move to two-tier schooling in the area.

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