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Uttoxeter parents fear ‘knee jerk’ schools move

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PARENTS have defended Uttoxeter’s schools after education chiefs launched a review which could see the end of the town’s three-tiered system.

Last week, county council education boss Ben Adams announced discussions could lead to the abolition of the current system.

It sees pupils attend primary school until they are nine, then middle school until they are 13 before moving to high school.

The alternative is a two-tiered system, which is employed across most of the UK, in which pupils move straight to high school from primary school at the age of 11.

The review has been launched after Ofsted found five of Uttoxeter’s schools required improvement after their most recent inspectinos.

But some parents are blaming funding cuts for the downturn in the town’s school’s fortunes.

Tess Taylor, a former governor at Windsor Park Middle School, said: “Rather than wasting money on two-tiered system, the council should be helping the current schools.

“I know cost cuts are that bad that teachers sit freezing with their coats on marking in evenings.

“I’ve seen the enormous effort staff and management put in to improving the schools and it’s honestly not down to poor teaching or management. It’s down to funding.

“Yes, a lot of the UK is two-tiered but that doesn’t mean we have to follow the crowd.

“The current system works well but you can only do so much with a small budget.

“And the town could possibly lose some excellent teaching and office staff. I don’t want my children in two massive schools.”

Marchington mum Kate Geofferson said: “I have two girls currently attending Uttoxeter schools and I am very satisfied with the education they have received so far.

“I have also boasted to others on many occasions about how lucky we are to have chosen to live in a town with such good schools.

“The pyramid system works extremely well and until the latest inspection the schools had received good Ofsted reports.

“To make drastic changes based on these latest reports would just be a knee jerk reaction and could prove damaging to our children’s future education.”

Thomas Alleyne’s High School, 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.

However, a recent Ofsted monitoring report has stated that Alleyne’s is taking action, under new head teacher Julie Rudge, to address its problems.

The report will be available to view at www.ofsted.gov.uk from June 3.

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