Cambs: county’s only middle school faces closure at Gamlingay

CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S only middle school, Gamlingay Village College, which is already in special measures because of under-achievement, could soon close to make way for a two-tier system.

Closure is Cambridgeshire County Council’s preferred option for the future of education in the area, with the village primary school being expanded to accept the full primary age range from four to 11, and secondary pupils being educated at Bassingbourn.

The council has been consulting the two schools’ teachers, governors and parents this week, and proposes to hold a public meeting in the village soon.

Gamlingay’s asymmetric education system is a relic of its historic connection with neighbouring Bedfordshire, which adopted a three-tier education system – with first, middle and upper schools – while Cambridgeshire opted for the two tiers of primary and secondary that are familiar in the rest of the county.

The village college, which opened in 1965, still accepts pupils from neighbouring Bedfordshire.

The three options being considered by the county council include leaving arrangements much as they are and federating the college with Stratton Upper School, in Biggleswade, six miles away, and two scenarios that both involve closure of the village college, expanding the primary school to take the full age range and pupils attending secondary schools in Cambridgeshire – either at Bassingbourn Village College from 2012 (the favoured option) or at a new secondary school that is scheduled to open in Cambourne in 2013.

Interim arrangements, if CCC is not diverted from its preferred option, would see Year 4 pupils at the junior school staying on in September this year and Year 6 students at the village college being given the option of moving to a Cambridgeshire secondary school, such as in Bassingbourn, Comberton or St Neots, all around 10 miles distant, as an alternative to Biggleswade.

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The county council’s cabinet is expected to decide on the schools’ future at its meeting on June 14.