Background to the School Organisation Review and archive

Full background to the School Organisation Review programme in Suffolk including consultation archive.

An Introduction to the School Organisation Review

Since the 1970s about half the schools in Suffolk have been organised into a three-tier system with middle schools taking children aged 9 to 13.

In 2006 Suffolk County Council began a review of its school system. This review found that children in the three-tier system made less progress than similar children in the two-tier system. The findings of this review can be found in the Policy Development Panel Report.

This review recommended that the Council began a review of school organisation in Suffolk with a preferred option of a two- tier system of Primary and Secondary School education. This was approved by the County Council in 2007.

The focus of the review is raising attainment and creating a school system that is sustainable in the future.

Since 2007, there have been major changes in the world which have affected the funding available to the County Council. The Council remains committed to the School Organisation Review and has adapted the timetable to reflect the new circumstances.

Background to Middle Schools

Until the 1964 Education Act primary schools took children up to age 11 and secondary schools took them from the age of 11 onwards.

Factors which led to the law being changed and middle schools being created were:

  • The abolition of the 11+, which removed any common point of assessment
  • Raising the school leaving age from 15 to 16 in 1973 required additional school places; in some areas the places needed were provided in new middle schools
  • The Plowden report which suggested children should remain in primary schools until they were 12

In 1981 there were over 1,800 middle schools in nearly 50 local education authorities. These middle schools had various age ranges starting at 7 and going up to 13.

The first large scale closures of middle schools began in 1981. Factors which led to the demise of middle schools were:

  • Falling rolls in secondary schools leading to some schools not being viable
  • The introduction in the National Curriculum in 1988 with schools being accountable for children’s progress at age 7, 11 and 13 as well as GCSE at age 16

There are currently only about 200 middle schools left – fewer than at any time since 1971. The number looks set to fall yet further. If all of the authorities which currently have plans to withdraw middle schools achieve their aims, by 2015 there could be as few as 100 middle schools remaining.

Policy Development Panel

Implementation of the School Organisation Review

Cabinet Report 22 March 2007: School Organisation Review 

  • Annex 1: Recommendations of the Policy Development Panel (PDP) on school organisation
  • Annex 2: Principles to inform on stage 2 review of school organisation
  • Annex 3: Summary of responses to the PDP report
  • Annex 4: Responses to key points made in letters and presentations
  • Annex 5: Parents against change report, with county council response
  • Annex 6: Chart showing staging of reorganisation from a child's perspective
  • Annex 6 (i)
  • Annex 6 (ii)
  • Annex 6 (iii)
  • Annex 7: School reorganisation in Woodbridge 1985-88 - a case study

Cabinet Report 10 May 2007: Implementation of the School Organisation Review

Consultation Booklet: Lowestoft

Consultation Booklet: Haverhill

Cabinet Report 4 March 2008: School Organisation Review Haverhill and Lowestoft

  • Appendix 1: A policy framework for school organisation in Suffolk
  • Appendix 2: Recommended changes to schools
  • Appendix 3: Lowestoft consultation booklet
  • Appendix 4: Haverhill consultation booklet
  • Appendix 5: Consultation distribution list
  • Appendix 6: Summary of responses from the pupil voice survey
  • Appendix 7: Overview of general questionnaire responses
  • Appendix 8: Common issues arising from consultation
  • Appendix 9: Summary of consultation responses fro each school in Lowestoft
  • Appendix 10: Appraisal of options for future pattern of schools in Lowestoft
  • Appendix 11: Summary of consultation responses for each school in Haverhill
  • Appendix 12: Appraisal of options for future pattern of schools in Haverhill
  • Appendix 13: Timetable for publication of notices and subsequent decisions

Cabinet Report 24 June 2008: School Organisation Review Determination of Haverhill Notices and Progress Report

  • Appendix 1: Proposed changes to schools in the Haverhill area
  • Appendix 2: List of representations
  • Appendix 3: Commentary on representation from Clare and Local Area for Rural Education
  • Appendix 4: Commentary on representation from the National Union of Teachers

Cabinet Report 4 November 2008: School Organisation Review for Lowestoft and Post-16 Learning Provision

Office of the Schools Adjudicator Determinations:

Consultation Booklet: Beccles

Consultation Booklet: Bungay and Halesworth

Consultation Booklet: Leiston and Saxmundham

Consultation Booklet: Mildenhall and Brandon

Consultation Booklet: Newmarket

Cabinet Report 5 February 2009: School Organisation Review Consultation Report and Proposals for Schools in the Beccles, Bungay, Leiston, Saxmundham, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Brandon Areas

  • Appendix 1: Principles of school organisation
  • Appendix 2: List of proposed changes to schools
  • Appendix 3: Consultation papers
  • Appendix 4: List of consultees
  • Appendix 5: Consultation process and scale of responses
  • Appendix 6: Beccles commentary on consultation responses
  • Appendix 7: Bungay commentary on consultation responses
  • Appendix 8: Leiston and Saxmundham commentary on consultation responses
  • Appendix 9: Mildenhall and Brandon commentary on consultation responses
  • Appendix 10: Newmarket commentary on consultation responses

Office of the Schools Adjudicator Determinations:

Consultation Booklet: Sudbury and Great Cornard

Cabinet Report 2 February 2010: School Organisation Review Report on Consultation in the Sudbury and Great Cornard Areas including comments on Special Educational Needs Provision

  • Appendix 1: Principles of school organisation
  • Appendix 2: List of proposed changes to schools
  • Appendix 3: Consultation papers
  • Appendix 4: List of consultees
  • Appendix 5: Commentary on consultation responses
  • Appendix 6: Sudbury commentary on consultation responses
  • Appendix 7: Great Cornard commentary on consultation responses

Cabinet Report 25 May 2010: School Organisation Review Determination of Statutory Notices for Schools in Sudbury and Great Cornard

  • Appendix 1: List of proposed changes to schools

Consultation Booklet: Bury St Edmunds

Cabinet Report 25 February 2014: Consultation on School Organisation in the Bury St Edmunds Area

  • Appendix 1: Proposed changes to schools
  • Appendix 2: Statistical Overview
  • Appendix 3: Summary of consultation analysis by school

Cabinet Report 10 June 2014: Bury St Edmunds Area School Reorganisation - Determination of Statutory Notices

  • Appendix 1: List of affected schools
  • Appendix 2: Commentary on key issues arising from the representations
  • Appendix 3: Partnership representations
  • Appendix 4: Redeployment statistics
  • Appendix 5: Impact of School Organisation Review at key stage 2
  • Appendix 6: Equality Impact Assessment (school organisation in the Bury St Edmunds area)
  • Appendix 7: Equality Impact Assessment (new school provision in Suffolk)
  • Appendix 8: Pupil allocations to Bury St Edmunds schools