Two-tier school switch in Thrapston and Oundle to go ahead

A protest against the plans in Thrapston earlier this year
A protest against the plans in Thrapston earlier this year

Children in Thrapston and Oundle will no longer attend middle schools after politicians approved controversial plans to switch to a two-tier education system.

The switch formally approved at a meeting of Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet on Tuesday, means that pupils in the Thrapston and Oundle area will graduate directly to the Prince William School at the end of their primary school education.

The plans, which are expected to cost about £22m to implement, were given the go-ahead despite a campaign group being formed to oppose them.

Several speakers at Tuesday’s meeting pleaded with the council to not go ahead with the plan.

Speaker Abigail Miller said: “Parents have been steadily moving their children to other secondary schools to avoid going to Prince William School.”

Another speaker, Julie Normanton, branded the scheme a waste of tax-payers’ money.

She added: “Our concerns have been totally dismissed.”

The county council’s head of education Cllr Matt Golby, admitted the plan had been controversial.

However, he added that the driving principle had always been to raise the “education outcomes” in the Oundle and Thrapston area.

He added: “This is a prosperous area and the academic outcomes are not acceptable.

“Originally, when the rest of the county switched to two-tier, these schools were left alone because they were good schools.

“We are not in that position any more.”

Cllr Golby said teachers making the switch would be given additional training to help smooth the transition.

At the meeting Cllr Julie Brookfield, the Labour party’s spokesman for children and young people, said that she was disappointed that no option to have a secondary school in Thrapston had been considered.

Thrapston Primary School is to be extended instead.

She added: “I know there have been financial arguments about that.

“But the pupil numbers in Thrapston still stand. It is a growing market town.”