Plan to scrap middle schools

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Thursday, September 16th, 2021 6:36pm

By Christian Barnett - Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to scrap middle schools in Pershore will be discussed by councillors next week.

Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve a public consultation on proposals to change age ranges at a number of schools in the Pershore area with a view to moving from a three-tier to two-tier system.

The council said schools in the town have asked for age ranges to be reviewed and changed to be coordinated for there to be a clear and consistent path for children.

Councillor Marcus Hart, the county council’s cabinet member for education, said: “The county council and Worcestershire Children First have been liaising with Pershore schools and academy trusts for some time now about the current school system in Pershore and their desire for a coordinated approach to change of age ranges that is clear and consistent for children and families.

“It’s great news that this proposal is coming to cabinet, and I’d like to thank schools and our teams for their work in the analysis so far.”

Pershore’s students have tended to follow a three-tier journey, where pupils attend first schools from age four to nine, transfer to middle schools at age nine to 12 and then transfer to high school at age 12 to complete their education.

Over the last several years, agreements have been made by a variety of decision-making authorities for some schools in this area to convert to primary and secondary schools.

The Orchard, Inkberrow, and Norton-Juxta-Kempsey CE converted to primary schools in September 2019 and Pershore High School converted to a secondary school from the start of this month.

Flyford Flavell First School converted to a primary school last September and Himbleton CE First School became a primary school from the start of this term.

Crowle CE First School has submitted an application to the regional school commissioner to convert to a primary school from September 2022.

The council said that it believes that by 2023, two of Pershore’s middle schools will only be half full.

If approved at next Thursday’s cabinet meeting, a public consultation will be launched on October 11 asking parents, families and residents for their views on the proposals.

The results will then be discussed at a cabinet meeting in February ahead of a final decision later that year.

Schools that have already completed the transition will make no further changes under the proposals.

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