Concerns about ‘meagre changes’ as school grows

Hipsburn First School
Hipsburn First School

Concerns about the suitability of a new classroom block have been met by assurances that it will enable ‘an excellent educational experience’.

As previously reported by the Gazette, the construction of a stand-alone block with welfare facilities at Hipsburn First School was approved last month.

The application is one in a series of bids to expand first schools in the Alnwick Partnership, which are to become primary schools from September this year.

But a parent with children at the school, who did not wish to be named, told the Gazette that there is ‘a growing discontent’ and many parents are unhappy with the ‘meagre changes’.

“The school is set in a beautiful area, but has limited resources which does affect the learning and development of each child,” she said.

“The school needs more funding to accommodate the growing number of pupils.

“A stand-alone block in the yard is simply not good enough. This proposal is not an ‘ambitious programme for enhancing school facilities’ as set out in the 2014-15 Hipsburn prospectus.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “The new classroom block has been developed in consultation with the headteacher and governors of the school, who we understand are happy with the scheme going forward.

“We understand that it is difficult for parents to visualise exactly how the new block will look and feel just from viewing plans, but the school and the council are confident that it will provide the facilities needed to enable the provision of an excellent educational experience for pupils through to Year 6. ”

Headteacher Dot Charlton said: “Northumberland County Council owns the site, has determined what we need and are providing the resources.

“We are fully confident Hipsburn offers an excellent education opportunity for primary-age pupils.”

In a school newsletter at the end of last month, the new building and its suitability is addressed, explaining that ‘governors have rigorously investigated and accepted the proposals’.

It adds: ‘This is, however, the first stage of premises development for Hipsburn Primary, and in the future, the school will need to consider fund-raising for aspirational facilities’.