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Uttoxeter school system overhaul discussion is under way

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EDUCATION leaders have met with bosses of Uttoxeter’s schools to discuss the possible revamping the town’s education system.

The Advertiser previously reported how Staffordshire County Council was considering abolishing Uttoxeter’s long-standing three-tier school system.

Pupils in and around town currently study at primary school until the age of nine, middle school until they are 13 and high school until they leave at 16.

But, if the changes go ahead, pupils would join the two-tier system, which is employed across the majority of the UK.

Under those rules, youngsters would cut out middle school, studying at first school until the age of 11 before moving straight on to high school.

County council education chief Ben Adams announced the possible change after six Uttoxeter schools were found to require improvement by regulator Ofsted.

And now the first preliminary talks between the council and the schools it looks after have taken place.

Councillor Adams and his senior officers have met with governors and head teachers in Uttoxeter.

He said: “There’s no doubt that we all want the very best education for children in Uttoxeter and we already have had some really valuable conversations about different ways of achieving that.

“The anticipated growth of Uttoxeter through new jobs, more housing and better transport links means we must prepare for more than a thousand extra children joining the schools system.

“We are taking this opportunity to consider school structures, to discuss where the investment in new places should be made and how schools can work closely together to ensure their long term financial security.

“It’s clear that changes can be made which will help raise standards and secure schools’ futures.”

Having met with head teachers and governors at town schools, Councillor Adams will next meet their counterparts at first and middle schools in Uttoxeter and its satellite schools in nearby villages.

He said: “I’m expecting those conversations to be equally constructive. Once we’ve examined the options we’ll develop some proposals for wider consideration after the school summer break.

“This is a conversation that matters to everyone.

“Sometimes the idea of change can be unsettling, but I think people will look at the broad ideas and see this is a unique opportunity to provide a wider choice of education and enable our children to benefit from the skilled and hi-tech job opportunities that are coming to Staffordshire.”

It is expected that thousands of new pupils will enter the Uttoxeter school system in the coming years, with several major developments, including 700 homes to the west of town, planned for construction.

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