Council agrees to consult on changes to schools in Biggleswade and the surrounding
Thursday, 10 June 2021
We have approved the launch of a public consultation on proposals for schools in Biggleswade and the surrounding area.
The proposal for the consultation is to move from the three-tier model to a primary/secondary model of education, as part of the Schools for the Future programme.
Schools in the town, Potton and surrounding villages have been collaborating with the local authority on the plans aimed at improving the educational outcomes for children and young people.
The change to the primary/secondary model would also bring schools in the area in line with the rest of the country. This would reduce the disruption of pupils having to change schools twice, as they currently do, helping them to get the most out of their education, while enabling schools to retain and attract the best teachers.
Currently teacher training is focused on the primary/secondary model of education, while the number of middle schools, nationally, has reduced dramatically in the last 40 years, from a from a peak of 1,400 in 1983 to just over 100 now.
The proposals include the following changes:
- Potton Middle and Potton Lower schools to amalgamate and become a primary in 2022
- all other existing lower schools and Biggleswade Academy to become primary schools in 2024
- a new primary school on land east of Biggleswade
- possible options for Wrestlingworth and Dunton lower schools, including amalgamation
- Edward Peake Middle School and Stratton Upper to become secondary schools in 2024
- a new secondary school on land east of Biggleswade. Edward Peake would relocate to this new school
- Lawnside Lower moves to the vacated Edward Peake school site as a primary school
- there would be one town sixth form open to pupils of both secondary schools
Councillor Sue Clark, Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:
This is an important step for the future of education in Biggleswade and the surrounding areas and we would urge as many people as possible to have their say when the consultation launches later this month.
We understand that some parents have strong feelings about the difference between the three-tier model and primary/secondary education, but it would align schools with the rest of the country.
We are also seeing local evidence that parents in the area are choosing to send their children to secondary schools elsewhere, with this having a detrimental impact on Potton Middle School, in particular.
This is why we are proposing that Potton Middle School and Potton Lower amalgamate to become a primary from next year. This is sooner than all the other schools in the area because we don’t want to see the middle school close.
We want to be upfront about any potential issues, the options we are considering, and hear the views of the local community before we make any decisions about the future of schools.
The consultation will run for 14 weeks from June 23 with more information, including how to have your say, available on the Schools for the Future website from that point.