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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 June, 2004, 18:36 GMT 19:36 UK
Parents lose middle schools fight
Northumberland schools protest
Campaigners want to keep the three-tier system
Dozens of middle schools are to be closed in Northumberland, despite the objections of thousands of parents.

County council officials had recommended the current three-tier education system is replaced.

Councillors have backed the two-tier system but said there would be flexibility in its introduction.

The move means the closure or merger of 45 middle schools as the council battles to reduce more than 7,000 surplus places.

The council said it wanted to work closely with parents to implement the changes and there was some room for flexibility.

Northumberland Director of Education Brian Edwards said: "The council decided to go forward on the journey of change and adopt a policy of primary and secondary education.

Crumbling buildings

"The main thing that has come out of the meeting is the real desire to reflect local circumstances and local solutions - better solutions that are beyond the two-tier, three-tier debate.

"We want innovative solutions that reflect Northumberland's needs."

The council says the move to replace the current system with primary and secondary schools is needed to tackle surplus places and crumbling buildings and raise standards.

It says it has to act quickly to reduce more than 7,000 surplus places and scrapping middle schools will raise standards of learning.

But campaigners have raised concerns about how the changes would affect their children's education.

Before the decision by the council's executive at the end of last month, campaigners marched through Morpeth and handed over a 28,000 signature petition against the changes.





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SEE ALSO:
Council to scrap middle schools
27 May 04  |  Tyne/Wear
No u-turn on schools closure plan
19 May 04  |  Tyne/Wear
Parents rally over school plans
08 May 04  |  Tyne/Wear


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