Purbeck schools' three-tier system scrapped

A plan to scrap a three-tier school system in Dorset has got the go-ahead.

County councillors recommended four Purbeck middle schools - for nine to 13 year olds - be shut in Swanage, Bovington, Wareham and Sandford.

The area's 13 first schools, for four to nine year olds, will become primary schools for four to 11 year olds.

The council said there were 1,200 surplus school places in the area but the new primary schools and a secondary school would get a £36.5m upgrade.

The change would cost £2.3m, the council said. The new system is expected to be implemented during a two-year transitional period starting from September 2012.

'Not convinced'

Andy Kent, from Purbeck Parents Action Group, said he was not surprised by the decision but was "extremely disappointed".

He said he was "not convinced" about the proposed £36.5m upgrade.

A six-week public consultation was held ahead of the council vote.

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

Toni Commbs, Dorset's cabinet member of children and young people, said: "Change is always difficult particularly when it is your child's education."

She added that the surplus places were "not benefiting the children's education".

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