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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 20:46 GMT 21:46 UK
Middle schools will be abolished
Gillian Adams with her younger daughter Anna
Gillian Adams has campaigned for abolition of middle schools
One of the biggest educational changes in Leicestershire for half a century has been given the go-ahead.

Councillors agreed to scrap all of the county's middle schools at a meeting on Tuesday, after concerns the system was affecting standards.

The schools, which cater for 11 to 14-year-olds, were already being cut in the Vale of Belvoir and Melton Mowbray.

The move is expected to cost at least 200m and central government funding could take several years to secure.

Middle schools, introduced nationally in the 1950s, have mostly been phased out, but not in Leicestershire, where there are 36 of them with about 22,400 pupils.

It means that our children won't lag behind children in other regions
Gillian Adams, One Through School

But many people feel two changes of school before GCSEs can be disruptive to youngsters.

Graham Bett, head teacher of one middle school, Woodbrook Vale High, said: "One of the advantages of going 11 to 16 in a school like this which is already successful is that the children will be able to have a whole curriculum and not have it interrupted at the age of 14 which is a difficult time for a lot of children."

Parents in Loughborough set up a campaign to change the situation.

Gillian Adams, of the campaign group One Through School, said: "We've done our own research and the change of school at 14 is on average costing pupils three GCSE grades and for some pupils that could mean the difference between a job and no job."

Welcoming Tuesday's decision, she added: "As a parent group we're really pleased that a decision's been made. It means that our children won't lag behind children in other regions."

Leicestershire county councillor Ivan Ould said the changes would not happen overnight.

"I had no illusions of how difficult this process will be. There will be vested interests who will want to retain the status quo. There will be other people who will want this tomorrow and it just isn't feasible," he said.

A campaign group is delighted at the council's decision

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