National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

July 2009

1) National Conference 2009


If you have not done so already then now is the time to book your place for our national conference in October by completing the attached booking form:


National Conference 2009

National College for School Leadership, Nottingham

Monday October 19th to Tuesday October 20th, 2009

Middle Schools fit for the 21st Century


Keeping it exciting in the middle years


Key speakers:


·         Sir John Jones

·         Mike Hughes

·         Ceri Morgan, HMI

Plus a full programme of workshops - and opportunities for networking with middle school colleagues.

Further details and a booking form are available from the NMSF website – click this link:



2) QCA/NMSF Codevelopment Project - Latest news


QCA have found the work of the 10 middle schools involved in the codevelopment work very compelling. QCA have produced a three page toolkit which draws on the central messages from the middle school projects, and their experiences.  This is part of a Curriculum Network Toolkit which is sent to all schools who join the network.

To receive your own copy you need to visit the QCA Curriculum Network website and join – follow this link:


You may find that the page says that membership is closed at present – I am told that it will open again this week.


The full report on the work of the schools should be published shortly on the QCA website – I will send you details when they are available.


Latest news from Bedford and Dorset


The threat of reorganisation in the newly created Bedford unitary authority will be debated this evening in the House of Commons:

A referendum is the only way, says Nadine

The future of Bedford’s schools set-up will be discussed in Parliament next week, when Nadine Dorries MP will call for a local referendum on the issue.

Ms Dorries, conservative member for Mid Bedfordshire has secured an adjournment debate for Monday evening, where she will quiz schools minister Ian Wright.

She said: “I want reassurances from the minister that there is no pressure form the government, to convert to a two-tier schools system. I will also be bringing up points which people have used, wrongly, to call for a change to the education system. I want to show that government funding does not depend on changing our schools, and to challenge the idea that children in three-tier systems are disadvantaged.

  I want reassurances that if such a change is to be made we should have a referendum on the issue.

It would be a huge change, with huge consequences and lasting affects – the mayor wasn’t elected with this in his manifesto, none of the parties were elected with this in their manifesto, so none of them should be able to decide without asking the people what they want.”

From: Bedford Times & Citizen, Thursday July 2nd 2009

Further information available here:

The save Middle Schools action group:

The Purbeck area of Dorset

Parents, children and staff in the Purbeck area have fought a vigorous campaign the save the middle school system in the area. Raising the profile and the benefits of middle schools was the key objective. The Action Group, led by Andy Kent, presented a 2000+ signature petition to the Director of Children’s Services, following a march through the centre of Dorchester. A further online petition was presented. We even have a Facebook group with over 1500 members.

 The Cabinet of Dorset County Council will meet on 8th July to consider the local residents' overwhelming rejection of the proposal to reorganise the schools in the area. 70% of residents opposed the proposed change to a two-tier system. Only one parish council was in favour of the change but quantified their decision by stating that by doing so would save their village first school.

Any changes would take place in 2012 or later, and would be largely dependent on funding from the Primary Capital Programme and Building Schools for the Future. The estimated cost for the change is somewhere between £36 and £100 million. Any shortfall in funding is likely to borrowed, the cost of which be around £70,000 per £1 million borrowed for a period of 25 years. The knock on effect is likely to reduce school budget allocations across the entire county for many years to come.

The Dorset consultation papers are available here:

Middle school action group website:

4) Congratulations to Grahame Webb, winner of the The Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement in South of England



At the recent Teaching Awards 2009 ceremony Grahame, the Headteacher of

The Emmanuel CE VA Middle School, Dorset was awarded The Ted Wragg Award for Lifetime Achievement in South of England for his services to education.

Part of the citation:


Grahame displays unstinting commitment to everything he takes on, especially where there are issues of child protection, children’s rights or family values at stake. He is passionate about education. One colleague said he reminded him of a “human dynamo” such is his energy! He always seeks the best for his school, whether it is an improved curriculum, better resources or through the benefits of working with other schools.

Follow this link for full details


Nigel Wyatt

Executive Officer