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Council votes to change Purbeck schools to two-tier

19 May 10 12:10 GMT

Councillors in Dorset have voted to press ahead with controversial plans for a radical overhaul of the school system in Purbeck.

The council wants to scrap the three-tier system and shut four middle schools in Swanage, Bovington, Wareham and Sandford.

All 13 first schools in the area will become primary schools.

There will be a six-week public consultation before a final decision is made on 22 July.

Councillors voted at a cabinet meeting held in Dorchester earlier, despite 70% of people saying in a previous consultation that they were against the change from a three-tier to a two-tier system.

Surplus places

Andy Kent, from Purbeck Parents Action Group, said there was a lot of opposition to the plans and hoped an alternative could be found.

He added: "There are definitely things that can be done within the system as it exists.

"We have to take a look at why some schools are struggling for numbers more than others [and address that]."

The schools involved will have the right to refer the matter to the Department for Education's national adjudicator.

Dorset County Council said there were 1,200 surplus school places in Purbeck and the changes would cost about £2.3m.

About £36.5m is to be spent improving the remaining schools.

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