North Northumberland’s MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has put forward a model for a ‘mixed economy’ of school structures in the area, in light of the county council’s preferred model of a two-tier system for the Alnwick Partnership.
Yesterday, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet voted to push ahead with further consultation on its preferred model for primary and secondary schools in the Alnwick Partnership, which would lead to the closure of four middle schools and two first schools, but assurances have been made that any alternatives put forward will be considered.
A likely alternative that will be put forward, that was discussed at the three meetings at County Hall yesterday, is for a mixed economy, allowing Alnwick to convert to a primary and secondary set-up while the rural areas such as Seahouses can keep their three-tier structure.
And newly-elected Conservative MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has set out her own vision for the future of education in the area along these lines.
The town of Alnwick would convert to a two-tier system, which Mrs Trevelyan supports, provided the secondary school is on a single site as has been proposed.
Where her suggestion differs is that there would then be new mini partnerships in Seahouses and Wooler. Seahouses Middle School would continue to be fed by its three current first schools, including Embleton, which could therefore stay open. The same would happen at Glendale Middle School in Wooler (which is actually part of the Berwick Partnership, although many pupils from Whittingham and Branton first schools, in the Alnwick Partnership, go there).
This would mean that Seahouses Middle School pupils would feed into Alnwick’s new secondary school at 13 instead of 11, something which Northumberland County Council director of education Andy Johnson described as ‘less than ideal educationally’ yesterday.
The final strand that Mrs Trevelyan suggested was ‘support for the continued existence for now’ of the first schools at Branton and Whittingham under one governing body.