Sunday, June 28, 2009


Elstow Lower School celebrate Ofsted success

Anne McCormick

At long last BOS has balanced the argument on the 2-tier or 3-tier education debate with an excellent, well argued letter from Anne McCormick, Head of Queen's Park Lower School and Vice Chair of the Bedford Learning Community, supported by all the Bedford Lower School and Nursery School Heads and one Middle School Head.

For too long the Primary Education voice in Bedford has been drowned out in the media by emotional, expensive and misleading propaganda from some Middle School Heads - funded by whom? - school parents or the school budgets? Why did their advertisements include Middle Schools in Central Bedfordshire, which are unaffected by the Bedford Borough proposals? Also why were 2 Bedford Middle School logos used without the permission of the Head Teachers?

The Bedford Borough Lower Schools provide a fantastic education - 80% are Outstanding or Good, including Outstanding schools in areas of social deprivation, like Queens Park Lower, Cauldwell Lower and Elstow Lower - rated Outstanding twice! Their Key Stage 1 results are excellent, but children under perform at Key Stage 2 in Middle Schools, who must bear some responsibility for pupils not achieving their full potential at GCSE. Some Bedford Middle Schools are good and two are Outstanding, but their overall performance is well below that Lower Schools.

Most UK local authorities now operate a 2-tier system, which provided an excellent state education for me and my children, all university graduates, and for two of my grandchildren who are at Primary Schools in Staffordshire and Hertfordshire.

My knowledge is also based on experience as a governor of 6 schools in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, one of the best education authorities in the UK, which has always provided 2-tier education.

In 2006 I was a Bedfordshire County Councillor when the Council wanted to move to
2-tier education but failed due to flawed public consultation, lack of capital finance for new schools and strong opposition from Mid and South Bedfordshire.

In 2009 we have a golden opportunity to get it right and create a good 2-tier education system over a 4/5 year period with £340m.government funding. Elstow Lower School is already working closely with Abbey Middle School to improve school transition and will soon be opening a Pre School - another step towards providing a more integrated 0-19 education system.

It is time to make the decision and move into the 21st Century. The new Bedford Borough Primary Schools will improve Key Stage 2 results and provide the first class education to which our children are entitled.

No comments: