Schools shake-up: Have your say

Families in Lowestoft have been 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 have been 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.

Most Read

“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.

t To view the full list of public meetings in Lowestoft, visit the news section at EDP24.co.uk

t For More information about the wider education review, log onto www.suffolk.gov.uk/sor

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