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Head's fears over schools shake-up

PUBLISHED: 09:33 07 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:51 01 August 2010

A RETIRING headteacher has spoken of his reservations about the controversial plans to overhaul Suffolk's education system.

Bill Carson is stepping down from Leiston Middle School later this month after just under four years at the helm.

A RETIRING headteacher has spoken of his reservations about the controversial plans to overhaul Suffolk's education system.

Bill Carson is stepping down from Leiston Middle School later this month after just under four years at the helm.

He joined as head in January 2007 when the school was in special measures and has helped to transform its fortunes.

Mr Carson, 59, has been teaching in middle schools for 34 years - including a time as headteacher at Harris Middle School in Lowestoft.

He said he was not convinced that by the supposed benefits of the county council's plans to change from a three to a two-tier education system - abolishing middle schools throughout all of Suffolk, with Leiston set to close in the summer of 2012.

The plans have met with met with fierce protests by parents in Lowestoft, which will become one of the first areas to make the change next year, and they have also drawn criticism from teachers and union representatives.

“It's the only system I've taught in and I'm committed to it,” Mr Carson said. “There are a wide range of activities and opportunities. Particularly for the older age range of 11 or 12 - they need nurturing in a smaller environment.

“I know what is said about standards and I am not 100pc certain they are going to rise, particularly in the short term.”

Mr Carson, who lives in Beccles, said he would miss many things about the school and was particularly proud of recent efforts to improve pupils' confidence and generate a feeling of success.

“The school is an absolutely fabulous place with wonderful children, parents, staff and governors,” he said. “The pupils are working hard and they are involved in so many extra curricular activities. Pupil behaviour is better and teaching and learning is very good.”

Mr Carson said he had no particular plans for his retirement but was hoping to play more golf and do some travelling.

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