Parents get say on school shake-up

Families in Lowestoft were last night urged to have their say about controversial proposals to scrap middle schools in Suffolk during a series of public meetings in the town.

Families in Lowestoft were last night urged to have their say about controversial proposals to scrap middle schools in Suffolk during a series of public meetings in the town.

A high profile consultation exercise starts on Monday and 30 public meetings will be held at schools across the Lowestoft area between November 12 and December 12.

It comes after Suffolk County Council decided that it wanted to spend £23m moving to a two tier school system throughout Suffolk in a bid to improve standards.

However, vocal opposition to the plans has grown, with parents and teaching unions insisting children's education will suffer if the plans go through.

Lowestoft, along with Haverhill, has been chosen to pioneer the scheme and will see its middle schools abolished by the start of the 2011/12 academic year if the plans are ratified.

Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: “We need everyone, not simply parents, to look at a number of options and to say what they think would be the best solution of their area.

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“We want to achieve a quality education system for Suffolk, which will enable all children and young people to achieve their full potential, giving them the basis for a successful life as active members of the community.

“This consultation is an important step towards achieving that vision. I would urge everyone in Lowestoft and Haverhill to look at the consultation material and to give their views.”

Parents of all children attending Lowestoft schools will receive a consultation pack before the meetings. Formal objections will be considered by the council next summer with a final decision being made in the autumn.

Malcolm Cherry, a Suffolk County and Waveney District councillor, is against the reorganisation and has also urged people to make their views know at the public meetings.

“Their views are needed and will be put into the melting pot,” he said.

Meanwhile, the future of Cookley and Walpole Primary School, near Halesworth, will also be considered during a separate consultation exercise being launched by the county council.

The review was called after only nine pupils were enrolled at the school in September and Mrs O'Brien said: “The launch of this consultation follows concerns raised by the headteacher and governors about the future viability of the school, the ability to deliver and adequate curriculum and social interaction.

More information will be made available on the county council's website when the consultation is launched on October 29.

To view the full list of public meetings in Lowestoft, visit the news section at

For More information about the wider education review, log onto

Public meetings (from 7.30pm-9pm unless otherwise stated):

Nov 12 - Pakefield Primary and Grove Primary

Nov 13 - Pakefield Middle and Oulton Broad Primary

Nov 14 - Northfield St Nicholas Primary and Poplars CP (5.45pm-7.15pm)

Nov 15 - Gisleham Middle, Corton CEVCP, Elm Tree CP and Whitton Green CP

Nov 20 - Harris Middle and Meadow CP

Nov 21 - Roman Hill Primary and Fen Park CP

Nov 22 - Woods Loke CP, St Margaret's CP and Dell Primary

Nov 26 - Roman Hill Middle

Nov 27 - Foxborough Middle

Nov 28 - Lothingland Middle and Denes High

Nov 29 - Carlton Colville Primary

Dec 4 - Benjamin Britten and Blundeston CEVCP

Dec 5 - Kessingland CEVCP

Dec 6 - Somerleyton Primary and Kirkley Middle

Dec 10 - Elm Tree Middle

Dec 11 - Gunton Primary

Dec 12 - Kirkley High

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