Dec 20 2007

Suffolk NUT brands school
reorganisation plans a “huge mistake”

Press release from NUT, October 29th 2007
Suffolk County Council’s announcement today that it will create 11-16 schools and sixth-form colleges when Middle Schools close in Lowestoft and Haverhill has been branded a “huge mistake” by Suffolk NUT, the largest of the teacher unions with over 3,000 members in the county.
Suffolk NUT Secretary, Martin Goold explained that, from 2008/9 onwards, the idea of separate sixth form and FE programmes of study will gradually disappear, with the introduction of the new vocational Diplomas and curriculum entitlement for all students from age 14.   “The plan to down-grade our successful Upper/High Schools to 11-16 schools will be a disaster and will prove totally inadequate for the new 14-19 curriculum”, said Mr Goold.  “When the new diplomas come in, there will be no break at 16.    Students will have already started vocational diplomas in year 10 but 11-16 schools will not have the specialist staff to provide this, because those specialist staff will want to be teaching more advanced skills at the FE college or so-called sixth-form centre.”

Read the full press release here

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What's wrong with the SOR?

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Northamptonshire education
in melt-down after 3-tier abolition
Northamptonshire, which chose to abolish its three tier education system in 2004, now has more failing schools than any county in the UK - as many as one in eight of primary and secondary schools in the county appear to be of concern to either Ofsted or the County Council.
Ofsted figures for 2007 show 22 of the county's 320 primary and secondary schools are "under notice" to improve standards, according to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo newspaper (a different report in the same newspaper puts the Ofsted figure at 25).
"A further 16 to 18 are causing concern to the Council," the paper quotes a Northamptonshire County Council annual performance report as saying.
And both councillors and headteachers are pointing to the abolition of three-tier education as a probable cause of the failure.
"Four years ago, they (Ofsted) found we were judged a good school. But in the years since, we've had the implementation of the school review," the paper quotes headteacher Karen Greystone as saying.
”We have gone from a 10-form school and are scheduled to become a seven-form school, but we have 12 forms here in the interim. We've had to take on teachers with temporary contracts and then we have to lose them. And some teachers had to teach older year groups for which they have not been trained.
"Also, we've had a major building programme so we are not in our normal buildings. These problems have been echoed across schools in the town.
The county council has acknowledged that it needs to attract good teachers but they are not attracted because of all the upheaval," Greystone said.
The second-worst county in Britain for failing schools is Norfolk, which is also moving from a three-tier to two-tier system.
Read more from the Northampton Chronicle and Echo:
County has more failing schools than rest of UK
One in 10 schools failing pupils
"Head blames Council for School Failings"