MP says plan for school may be blocked

By ID Friday 20 June 2014 Updated: 20/06 09:48

A BOROUGH school’s bid to take pupils from the age of 11 is likely to be blocked according to the town’s MP.

Tudor Grange Academy Redditch has been consulting on plans to start admitting pupils from Year 7 through to the Sixth Form as opposed to the current system when they arrive at 13 in Year 9.

The consultation ends today (Friday) but has been met with fierce opposition from parents and fellow headteachers who have warned it will cause chaos throughout the borough’s education system, lead to a shortage of secondary school places and result in the creation of a two tier system by stealth.

But Redditch MP Karen Lumley believes the move will not get approval from ministers if governors at TGAR decide to proceed with the application.

Speaking following an emergency meeting with officials from the Department of Education last week, Mrs Lumley said: “The officials I met with made it clear that even within the academy system it is unlikely the department would approve any school proposals if these had a considerable knock-on effect on other schools and the wider community, unless in the most exceptional of circumstances.

“I was pleased they too had concerns about the speed of the proposed move and insisted people must be thoroughly consulted on any change affecting their community in order to find a wider solution.

“Following the meeting I certainly felt reassured enough measures are in place to make sure that changes are done in the right way.”

Rebecca Blake, Labour’s Parliamentary spokeswoman for Redditch, has written to Gail Quinton, director of children’s services at Worcestershire County Council, requesting a town wide review of the education system.

“Although I am a supporter of three tier, it is clear both two and three tier work and this debate must not cloud the immediate priority which must be to halt the [TGAR] consultation in order to build a consensus on the way forward for all schools. I do not want our town’s schools to become unnecessarily fragmented, when we can choose to work together.”

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