In Norfolk and Suffolk, the old middle School system, which involved 8-12 year olds being in separate Middle schools is being replaced with a system of Infant and Junior schools, teaching the appropriate keystage, or all through Primary schools teaching all children up to the age of eleven.
In Norfolk, this process had been virtually completed, with the remaining Middle schools in Norwich closing in July and new schools opening in September. However, Suffolk, which is at a similar stage, thinks that it knows better, or at least some campaigners do.
The EDP reports on the complaints and protests HERE, but I fear they have missed the point.
I teach in a Middle School in Norwich, teaching year seven pupils, who are technically in key Stage three. this provides some significant problems.
- What type of teacher do you employ to work in your school ?
- Should you employ a key stage two qualified teacher who can teach in up to year six, or a key stage three teacher who can teach 12 year olds ?
-Are key stage three teachers trained to be able to teach all subjects like junior school teachers are or are they specialist teachers ?
- Should you have mixed key stages at the same school ?
I enjoy teaching year sevens, it is something of a challenge. However, I recognise the fact that most Middle schools are ill equipped to do all the things required in Key stage three. Most Middle school's science labs, DT facilities and cooking facilities are simply not up to high school standards, whilst year sevens are, in my opinion, ready for high school.
The biggest reason for keeping year sevens at middle schools is a financial one. A school receives about £1500 more per year seven pupil than they do for a year six. this is an incredible and, frankly, a ludicrous discrepancy, which shows quite clearly how little value governments place on primary school teaching. So whilst I can see the financial arguments for keeping Middle School, on an education basis alone, I cannot see a justification.
they used to say "Norfolk does different", it appears more like "Suffolk stands still", whilst the rest of the world moves on.