A REVIEW which could see the end of Uttoxeter’s three-tiered education system - as well as school mergers and closures - has been launched.
The review comes after five of the town’s schools, including Thomas Alleyne’s High School, were told they required improvement in their latest Ofsted reports.
With 2,300 new homes set to be built in town by 2031, it is predicted another 1,000 pupils will enter Uttoxeter’s school system.
As things stand, they would attend a primary school and middle school before graduating to Alleyne’s aged 13.
But Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council’s education chief, believes the two-tier system, in which pupils attend primary school until they are 11 before moving straight to high school, is more sustainable.
In an exclusive interview, he told the Advertiser he would not rule out some schools in and around Uttoxeter merging or even closing.
He said: “The need to ensure every child in Uttoxeter and surrounding villages receives the best possible education has prompted a review of the area’s three-tier school system.
“It’s disappointing that five schools in Uttoxeter itself, including the middle and high schools, are rated less than ‘good’ at the moment by Ofsted and, understandably, parents want the very best for the children.
“With the creation of new jobs, housing and transport links fuelling the area’s growth, this is the ideal opportunity to consider how operating a two-tier system could help raise standards and sustain schools’ futures.
“It’s not just a case of asking what works now, but what will work best in future.
“The national direction of education policy from all main political parties is for more free schools, more academies and that pace of change is increasing.
“I believe the two-tiered system is better-placed to accommodate that change.”
Alleyne’s, Oldfields Hall Middle School, Windsor Park Middle School, Picknalls First School and St Mary’s First School were told they required improvement in their last inspections.
Mr Adams said: “I look forward to hearing what parents think.”