September 30th, 2016

Calls to government to halt school changes

Updated: 9:36 am, May 07, 2015

CALLS have been made for the government to block changes to the town’s school system.

Rebecca Blake, Labour parliamentary candidate for Redditch, has written to Education Secretary Nicky Morgan asking her to stop Tudor Grange Academy Redditch and Ridgeway Middle School from becoming secondary schools before it is too late.

Last week the Standard revealed the two schools had been given permission to convert from the current three-tier system by the Regionals Schools Commissioner.

It means that Tudor Grange Academy Redditch would take pupils from the age of 11 instead of 13 from September 2016, while Ridgeway Middle School would move from providing education to nine to 13-year-olds and teach pupils aged 11 to 16.

It will still take in Years 5 and 6 children until at least 2018/19.

The current system in the borough has first schools from Year 1 to 4, middle schools from Year 5-8 and high schools up to the age of 16 or older with a sixth form.

Ms Blake said: “It’s simply not good enough that in the face of such opposition the Regional Schools Commissioner has given permission for Tudor Grange Academy Redditch to change from a high school to a secondary school and Ridgeway Middle School to become a secondary school.

“This has put other schools in the pyramid under pressure and parents are concerned about what the uncertainty will mean for their children’s education.

“Last year we were led to believe the Department for Education would block the changes if it had a ‘significant knock-on effect on other schools’.

“Well it certainly does have significant knock on effects and I, like many others, want this decision blocked. “

She added Pershore recently faced similar changes to its school network but the plans were dropped.

Members of the Redditch School Changes Facebook group, which started a campaign against TGAR’s proposals, are also urging the Minister of State for Schools to reconsider the changes.

Sharon Harvey, Rebecca Hyder, Nichola Farnes want David Laws MP to review both schools applications and revisit the legislation.

In a letter to him, they said: “We are concerned that the Regionals Schools Commissioner and his head teachers board have made decisions based on evidence provided solely by TGAR and Ridgeway Middle School.

“How can we be assured that this evidence was fair, honest and unbiased?”

They added they wanted access to the businesses cases and any other evidence under a Freedom of Information request.

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