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School reorganisation still on track

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 July 2010 | UPDATED: 09:52 01 August 2010

PARENTS and teachers have been assured that plans to reorganise schools in Waveney are on track despite the scheme being branded "a total mess" amid further delays to school closures.

PARENTS and teachers have been assured that plans to reorganise schools in Waveney are on track despite the scheme being branded “a total mess” amid further delays to school closures.

Suffolk County Council is currently working through a project to scrap middle schools in favour of a two-tier primary and secondary system, but the plans have been dogged by financial uncertainty, leaving teachers, parents and children in limbo.

The first phase will see Lowestoft's middle schools close in 2011 and the second phase will see middle schools in Beccles, Bungay and Halesworth close in 2012.

But it has emerged that the consultation process on middle schools in mid and west Suffolk had been delayed until spring next year because of the government's spending review due to be published in October.

Graham Newman, portfolio holder for education, said he hoped the reorganisation would still go ahead in 2014 and 2015.

Mr Newman said: “The county council's commitment to the School Organisation Review has not changed, with more than two thirds of the review now under way.

“We will continue to work hard to improve standards for young people and we will make the best use of all future funding to ensure this happens.”

Graham White, chairman of the Suffolk branch of the NUT, described the situation as “a total mess” and added: “The council doesn't seem to know what it is doing, but I must say this is what my members have been saying for months.

“I am very concerned that schools will find the uncertainty so unsettling that they feel the need to look towards going for academy or free school status and that will effectively undermine the local education authority fatally.”

A Suffolk County Council spokesman assured parents and teachers that plans to reorganise schools in Waveney are on track.

“The announcement that consultation for future groups of the School Organisation Review would be reviewed following the Comprehensive Spending Review does not affect groups of schools already part of the review process,” he said.

“This includes schools in Lowestoft, Beccles, Bungay, Leiston, Saxmundham and Halesworth.”

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