THE Redditch school system is on the brink breaking up following the approval of the two tier system in the town, local teachers have warned.
Their fears come as the full implications of the move, instigated by Tudor Grange Academy in Woodrow, begin to sink in for parents.
On Friday Redditch MP Karen Lumley hosted a series of meetings with local headteachers and governors with the regional schools commissioner, Pank Patel, to discuss the issue which will see both three tier and two tier systems in operation in the town.
Many see the action as an aggressive attempt by Tudor Grange to stem falling pupil numbers with local schools fearing they could lose their independence and be swallowed up as feeders for the Solihull-based academy group.
“It’s going to be very disruptive and confusing for parents,” said Councillor Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch borough council. “When the two tier system was last put to the test parents all preferred to keep the three tier system.
“Our infant schools would need more space to become primary schools and while I’m sure Tudor Grange will find the money and build the classrooms what is their objective? Parents are already voting with their feet.”
However Rose Rees, headteacher at Tudor Grange, while recognising that ‘lessons could be learnt from how a consultation can be managed’, said no school was being forced to join their academy trust.
“We cannot tell or force anyone to join us, if schools want to join our trust they have to come to us first,” she said.
Acknowledging that the school was suffering from declining numbers she added that the drive to two tier was driven purely to achieve more success for pupils.
“The decision was made by the governors after looking at student outcomes, particularly for GCSE, and it was felt we could optimise these by having the extra two years to work with students.
“The decision to move to two tier wasn’t made by us, we simply presented our case to the regional schools
commissioner and the decision was made by him, not us.
“What we are doing is giving parents a choice – they can send their children to a secondary school or they can maintain their children in the three tier system.”