Dunstable middle schools decision ‘will be difficult’


Public consultations on the closure threat hanging over three Dunstable middle schools closed on Monday (April 7).

Parents and the wider community were encouraged to have their say on the possible closure of Ashton Middle, Brewers Hill Middle and Streetfield Middle.

Following the conclusion of the consultation there will be a further public meeting at 7pm on May 7 at the Grove Theatre, Dunstable.

Anyone who wishes to speak at the meeting must register their request in advance.

At that meeting Central Beds Council’s overview and scrutiny committee will consider a detailed report covering the outcomes of all the public meetings and all the consultation responses as well as other relevant factors relating to the future of the schools.

The report will then be considered by the council’s executive on May 27.

As with all council meetings, the public are welcome to attend.

Councillor Mark Versallion, executive member for children’s services, said: “This is a very important and difficult decision that we are faced with as something has to change now for these three schools.”

Separate consultations for each school began in February. Heated public meetings have already been held at all three schools, as reported in the Gazette.

A report to the council’s executive committee said the schools “have falling pupil rolls and are unviable”. But any “viable” alternatives to closure would be considered.

If the council decides on May 27 to pursue closure of any of the schools, further consultation will take place.

Pupil age range changes are seen as leading to a shift from Dunstable’s long-established three-tier education system to a two-tier arrangement.

All three schools have been working hard on survival plans and have been running their own consultations on alternatives to closure.

Ashton has been consulting on potentially becoming a secondary school and Streetfield hopes to become a primary school with a nursery provision. Brewers Hill has been looking at the idea of pressing ahead with plans to become an academy.