EVESHAM’S MP Nigel Huddleston has called for a ‘full and open’ debate on the future of middle schools in Worcestershire.
The Mid Worcestershire MP urged the Government to clarify their position on the ‘three-tier’ system of First, Middle and High schools.
Evesham still has three middle schools, but there has been a clear shift nationwide to move away from middle schools towards a two-tier system.
Mr Huddleston was spurred into action following a decision by some first schools in the Vale to add a year six class and after concern from parents about the impact that would have on middle schools.
In the debate, the School’s Minister Nick Gibb MP said the Government’s role was to hold local authority’s accountable for the quality of education they provide and not to ‘mandate any particular configuration of tiers’ on them.
Following the debate Mr Huddleston said: “There is a lot of confusion about the value and long-term viability of the three-tier system.
“I have met many raving fans of both the two-tier system and the three-tier systems in Worcestershire, and many parents express great affection for the middle schools in my constituency.
“The issue of whether a two or three-tier system is best has come up again recently in my constituency, specifically because of moves by first schools to add a year six.
“The first schools have perfectly rational reasons for wishing to expand, but an inevitable, if unintended consequence of such moves is to undermine the long-term viability of the middle schools as their pupil head count will inevitably fall,” he said.
Mr Huddleston said the county needed a ‘full and open’ debate on the long-term viability of the three-tier system versus the two-tier system.
“I fear that more and more piecemeal changes may lead to some middle schools closing without us having a proper debate about whether that was intended.
“We all want to work together to ensure that all our children achieve the great education they deserve and that parents rightly expect,” he added.