School reorganisation options published

THE people of Beccles can have their say on proposed changes to the organisation of local schools, which are part of Suffolk County Council's plans to abolish its middle schools by 2013.

THE people of Beccles can have their say on proposed changes to the organisation of local schools, which are part of Suffolk County Council's plans to abolish its middle schools by 2013.

In the recently published School Organisation Review, options are outlined for each primary, middle and high school in the Beccles area over the next five years.

And there will be the chance to let the council know what you think of the options at a series of public meetings at the schools over the next few weeks.

The options include a "hard federation" between Ravensmere Infant School and the Albert Pye Community Primary School, which would see them managed by a single governing body.

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The two schools are unique in that the children from Ravensmere, which has an age range of four to six, almost always transfer to Albert Pye which has an age range of four to eight.

The schools are already working in a "soft federation" but it is hoped that the hard federation would give the governing bodies more flexibility in deploying staff and resources across the two schools, and so try to ensure that the children share the same experience from the ages of four to Year 10.

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The council is proposing that Ravensmere retains its present age range and that Albert Pye extends its age range to include children up to the age of 10, which would require work on the current building.

The two middle schools to be closed, Beccles Middle and Worlingham Middle, would stop admissions in September 2011 and nine-year-old pupils would remain in their primary schools.

In September 2011, the middle schools would teach only 10 to 12 year olds and then in September 2012 all year groups remaining would be transferred to high school, and the middle schools would close.

The Sir John Leman High School would have the choice to use the Beccles Middle School building for its purposes and Worlingham Middle School would become the new Worlingham Primary School, as the primary school building has been deemed unable to accommodate the required number of pupils.

The option outlined for the Sir John Leman High School is to increase the age range at the school to include children from the age of 11 instead of the current 13.

However, it is hoped that the number of pupils in each year group will drop from up to 378 to a preferred 240 due to the opening of a new secondary school in south Lowestoft in September 2011, where a significant number of the current pupils come from. The school will take in its new year groups in September 2012.

Meanwhile Barnby and North Cove Community Primary, Brampton Primary, Crowfoot Primary, and Ringsfield Primary would all extend their age range from 4-8 to 4-11, however St Benet's Catholic Primary School, which already takes the "full primary age range" from 4 to 11, would stay the same.

The consultation period ends on December 15, and the county council's cabinet will consider the responses in February before making a decision about the way forward.

The changes will be published and there will be another chance for people to comment on them. A final decision will be made before the end of 2009.

For a full list of public meetings times and dates, see page two.

Copies of the review booklet for the Beccles area are available at local libraries, schools, or by calling 08456 031842, or through the website:

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