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Union warns of ill feeling

PUBLISHED: 10:25 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:35 05 July 2010

COUNCIL officials are not taking teachers' views into consideration over plans to scrap the county's middle schools, it has been claimed.

John Mayes, national president of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said his members feel they are not being properly listened to by Suffolk County Council - which is reviewing the current three-tier education system.

COUNCIL officials are not taking teachers' views into consideration over plans to scrap the county's middle schools, it has been claimed.

John Mayes, national president of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said his members feel they are not being properly listened to by Suffolk County Council - which is reviewing the current three-tier education system.

And he warned the authority it risked causing animosity among school staff who feel they have not had a say in the decision-making process.

“I would urge the education authority to engage in some sort of partnership or proper consultation with teachers, so the teachers themselves feel part of the decision,” said Mr Mayes, who has been visiting NASUWT throughout Suffolk on a three-day fact finding mission.

“Teachers feel their views are not being taken on board, and when that happens it builds up a slow development of resentment.”

The first phase of consultations into the school review - for schools in Lowestoft and Haverhill - finished last week.

The council will now begin talks with staff and parents at schools in Beccles, Bungay, Leiston, Mildenhall and Newmarket before finishing the process off with Bury St Edmunds, Thurston, Sudbury and Stowmarket.

It appears all Suffolk's 40 middle school will be closed after the review.

Rosalind Turner, director for children and young people at the council, said: “During November and December meetings were held at each of the schools currently being reviewed, specifically for teachers and other members of school staff to hear more about the process and to give their views.

“In addition to this there was the opportunity for them to respond individually using the consultation questionnaire. We have received more than 2,400 responses to the consultation. All of these views will help to inform the decisions made by Suffolk County Council's cabinet in March.

“Unions have been involved throughout the whole process, including producing a staffing protocol which will help teachers and other school staff in Suffolk plan their future careers.”

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