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Rocester schools merger unaffected by system changes

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PLANS for a new school in Rocester will ‘be able to cope’ if Uttoxeter’s education system is abolished, county bosses have said.

Staffordshire County Council has entered plans for a new school merging Ryecroft Middle School and Dove First School in Rocester.

This would see both schools continuing to function in the two-tiered system in which Dove pupils would still move to Ryecroft aged nine.

However, as recently reported in the Advertiser, the county council has launched a review which could see a three-tiered system introduced.

This would cut out the middle schools traditionally employed in Uttoxeter and see primary school pupils move straight to high school aged 11.

But Ben Adams, education boss at the council, said plans for the new school would be flexible enough to deal with any systematic changes introduced.

He said: “The current proposals for a new school in Rocester are an exciting opportunity to provide brand new teaching facilities for children in the area.

“We build a degree of flexibility into all our new schools. So the current plans would be able to cope if there were any future changes to the school system in Uttoxeter and the surrounding area.”

Councillor Adams’ comments come as the Ofsted criticised the county council’s outsourcing of education services.

Ofsted’s report said last year’s move, in which services were merged with Capita, had created a ‘lack of clarity’ for head teachers and governors.

The Tory-led council was accused of being ‘reactive rather than proactive’ and inneffective in using the strengths of strong schools to improve failing establishments.

Labour’s county shadow education chief, Sue Woodward, said: “This really is a damning verdict on the way the administration at Staffordshire County Council has dealt with less-than-adequate results.”

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