Parents’ views sought on East Northamptonshire education system

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A consultation into proposals to change the education structure in east Northamptonshire opens this week.

Northamptonshire County Council is asking for views on whether schools in Oundle, Kings Cliffe, Thrapston and the surrounding area should change from operating a three tier model of education to a two tier model.

Education in the area is currently structured into lower, middle and upper schools unlike the rest of Northamptonshire and bordering counties which operate a two tier system of primary and secondary school.

Councillor Catherine Boardman, cabinet member for children, families and education, said: “Although schools have greater autonomy than previously, we still have overall responsibility for the strategic planning of school provision.

“As things stand, we believe that the three tier system does not represent the best long term approach to education in the area.

“We know that a number of schools in the area are underperforming and that has a knock-on effect on parental preferences for where their children are educated. As a result, we’re seeing falling pupil numbers in some of the schools.

“While it is our belief that a change would be to the advantage of pupils and the schools themselves, we do need and want to hear what local residents think.

“That’s why we are launching the consultation this week with different ways people can take part, including on our website or by attending one of the public meetings.”

The area is comprised of nine lower schools with an age-range of 4 to 9, two middle schools for pupils aged 9-13 and a single upper school for those aged 13-18. Easton Garford CE Primary (4-11) is also located in the area. This school was a lower school until September 2013, when it extended its age-range to become a primary school following a statutory consultation process.

The two middle schools in the area are The King John School, Thrapston and Oundle & Kings Cliffe Middle School, which is based on two sites, Oundle and Kings Cliffe. The area’s upper school, Prince William, is in Oundle.

A series of meetings has been arranged to give opportunities to find out more:

* Easton Garford Primary 03/02/14

* Nassington Primary 05/02/14

* Warmington Primary 06/02/14

* Glapthorn CE Lower 10/02/14

* Polebrook CE Primary 11/02/14

* The King John School 12/02/14

* Trinity CE Lower 13/02/14

* Titchmarsh CE Lower 24/02/14

* Kings Cliffe Endowed 25/02/14

* Kings Cliffe site – OKCMS 26/02/14

* Oundle site – OKCMS 27/02/14

* Prince William School 03/03/14

* Thrapston Primary 04/03/14

* Oundle CE Primary 05/03/14

All meetings take place from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

The consultation runs until 21st March 2014. More information is available on the council’s website