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Middle schools to learn fate soon

PUBLISHED: 14:36 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:30 05 July 2010

THE fate of middle schools is due to be decided in the next few weeks after a public consultation into the proposals ended.

Suffolk County Council announced its biggest shake-up of education in decades last year with plans to close 40 middle schools across Suffolk.

THE fate of middle schools is due to be decided in the next few weeks after a public consultation into the proposals ended.

Suffolk County Council announced its biggest shake-up of education in decades last year with plans to close 40 middle schools across Suffolk.

The 12-week public consultation ended on Friday and the results of which will go before the cabinet in March.

Throughout November and December, 51 sets of public meetings were held at schools in two areas. Nearly 3,500 people attended the meetings to hear the proposals and ask questions, with almost 2,000 people filling in paper questionnaires.

Councillor Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: “The response to the consultation has been encouraging and I would like to thank everyone who has taken part. All responses will now be fully analysed.

“These views will help to inform the decisions made by the county council's cabinet in March.

“Their decisions will be based on the principles agreed in March 2007 and the guidance on decision making from the Secretary of State for children, schools and families.”

If the cabinet agree the recommendations the proposals will be published in statutory notices. These notices give people six weeks in which to write to the county council with their comments or objections. A final decision will then be taken.

Schools in Lowestoft and Haverhill are first in the firing line, with all eight middle schools in Lowestoft set to close.

Existing high schools in the town would lose their sixth forms - consisting of more than 500 pupils - and a new dedicated sixth form/further education centre would be created for 16 to 19-year-olds.

A new high school would also be set up south of the river, while primary schools could also see significant changes under the proposed plans.

Included in the review is a two-year planning period. This will allow the council to manage any changes effectively, so the first changes will not take place before September 2010.

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