David Ruffley MP steps in on Bury St Edmunds School Reorganisation.

Friday, 27 May, 2011

David Ruffley MP said: 'I have been extremely concerned about the way the Suffolk LEA's decision to move from a three tier school system to a two tier system has been going.

The LEA agreed to wind down Middle Schools and change to a two tier system of Primary Schools and Secondary Schools. Since last autumn it has become increasingly clear to me that Government policy plus the LEA's radical decentralisation of decision making was heading for a chaotic free for all in my Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket areas. Allowing individual schools to 'do their own thing' was leading to justified anxiety on the part of teachers about their jobs and confusion on the part of governors, parents and pupils about whether their school would exist in the same form.

I was increasingly receiving letters and calls about the future of schooling locally

I decided that the deadline for resolving the change to two tier in my constituency - September 2017 or later - was completely unacceptable. I took action.

That is why during a meeting at Guildhall Feoffment School of all the primary school Heads in the Bury St Edmunds pyramid on 3rd May (which I addressed) I asked County Councillor Graham Newman, (Portfolio holder for Education) to commit to designing a plan for all the schools in my constituency starting with the Bury St Edmunds pyramid. I personally asked him to attend a summit meeting on 20th May with all the Head teachers of First Schools, Middle Schools and Upper Schools in the Bury St Edmunds pyramid. The aim was to once and for all sign up to a common position. I was delighted at that meeting because for the very first time we got everyone singing from the same hymn sheet. I am grateful to Councillor Newman with whom I have had personal meetings in Westminster on this subject since Christmas. Now I think we are getting somewhere.

My intervention on schools reorganisation does not end here, I will be working with Councillor Newman and school Heads to squeeze out from Central Government the necessary capital funding for the buildings we will need to make a move to two tier a reality. I will be going in to bat for my schools with Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove in the coming months. '