Saturday, 25 February 2012

Formal consultation on changes to age range at Houghton Regis Lower schools

Formal consultation is to begin on proposals to extend the age range of four Houghton Regis Lower schools, to cater for 3 to 11 year-olds, in a bid to improve education standards.

Hawthorn Park, Thornhill and Tithe Farm Lower Schools received approval from Central Bedfordshire Council to move to statutory consultation after an informal consultation by the schools showed solid support.

Thomas Whitehead Lower School, which had also canvassed views on the issue, will also go to formal consultation following a decision by its governing body.

Speaking about the decision Cllr Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children's Services, says: "The Council supports the drive by our schools to raise standards and results for all our pupils. This consultation, initiated by the schools concerned, is about giving power to parents, governors, and teachers to shape the future of their own schools.

"I have committed the Council to consider any proposals by schools providing they could show support from parents, that the proposed arrangements will meet the needs of all pupils, and that the changes can be achieved within existing resources.

"Initial consultation undertaken at the start of the year has shown that many parents within the area are fully supportive of the proposed changes and there is a clear desire to move ahead with the proposals.

"The Council is publishing statutory notices for the schools concerned. These will also be on the Council's website and at Houghton Regis library, as well as the local town council and local press. This is the start of formal six week statutory consultation, ending 2 April 2012. This will give parents and other interested parties a further opportunity to put forward their views."

Following the statutory consultation and careful consideration of the responses, Councillor Versallion will make the final decision on whether this change will happen for any of the schools in April. This will be made in a public meeting so that head teachers, governors and parents can attend if they wish. The proposed changes would be implemented from September 2013 at which time year 4 pupils would have the opportunity to remain at their current lower school for a further two years or transfer to a middle school.

Central Bedfordshire Council New Release 24/02/2012

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