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There is a real risk of damage to local school children’s education in Mid Worcestershire if there is a chaotic and unplanned move away from the three tier education system to a two tier one.

That’s the concern of the area’s MP, Sir Peter Luff, who is asking all the schools involved in consultations about adding year groups to their current intakes not to rush the implementation of the outcome.

Consultations are currently being conducted by various first schools in the De Montfort pyramid, and by both the high schools in the Pershore and Droitwich pyramids.

Commenting, Sir Peter said,

“I know all the schools consulting are motivated primarily by a wish to improve educational outcomes. We should all applaud this intent. However, we should all be concerned about the real risk that many children currently at school in any of these three pyramids could well suffer from the consequences of a chaotic and unplanned process.

The detailed reasons given by the schools involved for seeking this change are different but they all have one common outcome – if implemented they will put huge pressure on the middle schools in their pyramid. Indeed, I would expect the changes, if they were all made, to render most of the middle schools in my constituency unsustainable.

“The process may reveal a strong preference amongst parents to move to a two tier system, although the consultation documents I have seen do not make it clear that this is what would probably happen.

“A major structural upheaval, though, whatever its merits or problems will cost a lot of money –and it’s not clear to me where that money will come from.

“While the schools consulting believe they can easily make these changes, the consequences for many first schools would also often be challenging. First schools who sought no change would be forced to change too and many will not be able to afford it. For example, middle schools may choose to respond by becoming full primaries; that would create new and unforeseen competition for pupils, probably leading to the closure of other first schools. The range of possible consequences is wide.

“All my instincts tell me that the schools currently conducting consultations should conclude them, reflect on the results, but not move rapidly to implementation. The legislation does lay down a due process but there should be a further period of reflection while the county council and other schools consider how best to respond.

“So time is needed. There is no rush – and I appeal to all school governing bodies currently in consultation, or considering it, not to hurry through this process.”


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