Bedford school could close if two-tier move goes ahead

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Marston Vale School
Marston Vale School. Image: Marston Vale School/Facebook

A school near Bedford could be forced to close if a move from three-tier to two-tier education goes ahead.

Marston Vale Middle School in Stewartby would close in 2026 if the school system in Marston Vale and Cranfield moves to the two-tier system.

The majority of Bedford borough’s schools moved to a two-tier school system between 2015 and 2019. This is where children attend a primary school from age four, and move to a secondary school at age eleven.

But a report due to be presented to Bedford Borough Council’s Executive next month (October 19) explains that the Wootton and Stewartby cluster of schools chose to remain in a three-tier structure because of the cross-border relationship with Central Bedfordshire.

Now, the Executive will be asked to agree to undertake a non-statutory consultation to seek views on the proposed change to a two-tier system for this cluster.

The proposals for the four schools in Wootton and Stewartby are as follows:

  • Broadmead Lower School in Stewartby (Year R [Reception] to Y4) would become a primary school (YR to Y6) – children would remain at the school until they were ready to transfer to secondary school at age 11 to start Year 7
  • Wootton Lower School (Year R to Y4) would become a primary school (YR to Y6) – children would remain at the school until they were ready to transfer to secondary school at age 11 to start Year 7
  • Wootton Upper School (Y9 to Y13) would extend its age range so that it admits children at age 11 (Y7) rather than at age 13 (Y9). (Admissions would continue at Year 9 for a transitional period).
  • Marston Vale Middle School in Stewartby would close in 2026 and an alternative educational use may be found for its site and buildings

A letter sent to parents of children at the middle school explained “this conclusion [about the closure] has been reached by Chiltern Learning Trust based purely on pupil numbers in the area and is not a reflection on the leadership, standards or quality of education at Marston Vale”.

Some building works would take place to accommodate the larger number of year groups at the schools.

Subject to committee approval, the six-week pre-statutory consultation will start on October 31.

The report said this will provide parents and carers, governors, staff, and community members with the chance to have their say on the proposals.

By John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

 
 
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