Here is the letter to all Stakeholder Forum Members following the County Council's announcement last night:
Dear SOR Stakeholder Forum Member
I am writing to you to let you know that the timetable for the implementation of the School Organisation Review is being reviewed and consultation will be delayed in the Bury St Edmunds, Thurston, Stowmarket and Stowupland areas. We will continue to consult in the Sudbury and Great Cornard areas as planned this term.
The county council remains 100% committed to the School Organisation Review. The review remains the right thing to do. Levels of educational attainment of young people in the three tier system still remain below those in the two tier system. This summer GCSE results showed a 6% gap between the two-tier and three-tier systems.
This is not a change to the county council policy. We are simply reviewing the current timetable in light of increasing uncertainty over the resources likely to be available to us. Resources permitting, we will be implementing the review as quickly as possible.
Because of the national economic situation, a public sector funding crisis is coming. This means we could well have less money than expected. The DCSF cannot give us information about our capital allocations from 2011 onwards. We have to review our plans now – as a prudent and sensible council. It would not be responsible for us to continue ‘full steam ahead’ when we have concerns about future funding. But we intend to implement it as quickly as possible, resources permitting.
We are still carrying on with the School Organisation Review. Plans for change are moving ahead in Lowestoft and Haverhill. This term we will be starting the consultation process in the Great Cornard/Sudbury area.
Building has started at schools in group one and we are waiting for final approval from the Schools Adjudicator for Group Two schools (Beccles, Bungay, Leiston, Mildenhall, Newmarket). We have consultation booklets ready to go out to parents for Sudbury and Great Cornard.
Until we have more clarity on the future financial position, it would be irresponsible for us to make promises on what happens next and when. But, resources permitting, we will be implementing the review as quickly as possible. We remain 100% committed to the School Organisation Review.
We will keep stakeholders abreast of developments in the coming weeks.
School Organisation Review Project Lead
Children and Young People's Service
Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich IP1 2BX