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Lowestoft middle schools to be axed

PUBLISHED: 09:10 04 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:21 05 July 2010

A PROPOSAL to axe Lowestoft's middle schools was given the green light on Tuesday despite fierce opposition.

The town's middle schools will be the first to close as part of a move to a two-tier system across Suffolk in a bid to improve standards of education in the county.

A PROPOSAL to axe Lowestoft's middle schools was given the green light on Tuesday despite fierce opposition.

The town's middle schools will be the first to close as part of a move to a two-tier system across Suffolk in a bid to improve standards of education in the county.

Suffolk County Council voted in favour of moving to a two-tier system last year. A period of public consultation followed the decision and the independent schools adjudicator yesterday backed the plans.

As part of the plans, a new 900-pupil high school will be built on the site of the existing Pakefield Middle School to open in September 2011. The £26.5m project will be largely funded by the government's Building Schools for the Future initiative.

A spokesman for the Office of the Schools Adjudicator said: “The adjudicator took careful note of the concerns expressed by some of the schools, some parents and other individuals and organisations, but concluded that the proposed changes are well founded and would contribute to improving the standards of education provided for the children and young people of Lowestoft.

“There will be extensions to some school buildings so that they can accommodate extra year groups, some primary schools will move into former middle school premises.”

Residents living near Pakefield Middle School, in Kilbourn Road, had objected to plans for the new high school, but yesterday's announcement confirmed that the new building will be open for pupils from September 2011.

The spokesman said: “The adjudicator carefully considered local residents' concerns over the choice of the Pakefield site for the new secondary school, particularly those over traffic issues, but is confident that Suffolk County Council will continue to work with residents to minimise the problems that are foreseen.

“One condition of the approval of the new secondary school is that a new vehicle, cycles and pedestrian entrance to the site from London Road will be provided.”

Linda Lee, one of the residents who formed the group Erase (Enraged Residents Against School Expansion) to fight the proposals for the new high school, said: “It is very disappointing after all our work. It still sounds absolutely crazy to us. We will carry on fighting this every step of the way because we still feel it is the wrong site for the school to be built on. We will now fight this through the planning process at Waveney District Council.”

Copies of the adjudicator's determination can be obtained from the Office of the Schools Adjudicator.

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