Closure of Suffolk's last two middle schools confirmed by government

Westley Middle School. Picture: Archant

Westley Middle School will close under the plans, the government has confirmed - Credit: Archant

Plans to close the two remaining middle schools in Suffolk have been approved by the government.

Unity Schools Partnership first outlined proposals in January for the reorganisation of Horringer Court Middle, Westley Middle, Tollgate Primary and County Upper schools in Bury St Edmunds.

Children in Year 4 will now stay at their primary schools in September later this year and will not be admitted to either Horringer Court or Westley schools.

In August 2023, the two middle schools will close and at this point, County Upper School will take responsibility for the education of Years 7 and 8, based at the Westley site.

Tollgate Primary School will also extend to include Year 5 from September 2022 and Year 6 from September 2023.

Transport to Westley and Horringer Court schools during the 2022/23 academic year will be subsidised so that there is no increase in costs to families as a result of these proposed changes.

Unity Schools Partnership held four weeks of public consultation with staff and parents, held public and online meetings and met with groups that offered alternative proposals.

The trust was told the Department for Education had approved the plans on Thursday.

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership, said: "We understand that there are parents who are concerned and disappointed at the changes these proposals represent.

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership

Tim Coulson, chief executive of Unity Schools Partnership - Credit: Unity Schools Partnership

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"We will now work with each school community to ensure that disruption is minimised and plans are followed to create a school system in Bury St Edmunds that further benefits the children of the town and surrounding area.

"We published proposals in January and following an extensive consultation we amended the proposals before submitting them to the Department for Education.

"We decided that there should continue to be education on the Westley site and that the new County Upper secondary school should be distinctive in having younger and older sections of the school, with the younger children still at the Westley site and not transferring to the County Upper site until they are 13 years old."