SCHOOLS REORGANISATION: ‘One size doesn’t fit all’

A protest in support of Seahouses Middle School took place in December last year.
A protest in support of Seahouses Middle School took place in December last year.

A mixed economy, allowing a three-tier system of education to remain in Seahouses, is to be put forward as part of today’s discussions about the restructuring of the Alnwick Partnership.

At this morning’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s petitions commitee, a bid to save Seahouses Middle School, signed by 1,198 people, was presented by chairman of governors Carol Fawcus.

She emphasised that there shouldn’t be one structure for all, adding: “I know that my children have had the best start in life in a three-tier structure.”

Mrs Fawcus was backed up by local ward member John Woodman, who highlighted a number of reasons why Seahouses should keep a three-tier structure, including travel to school and the impact on Seahouses at large, ‘the last coastal village in Northumberland that isn’t a holiday or retirement community’.

The county council’s executive director Daljit Lally and director of education Andy Johnson were keen to point out that the consultation came following requests from a majority of schools in the partnership, albeit some were in favour of no change to the system.

Ms Lally also said that there were issues around the long-term sustainability of the two schools in Seahouses, which are not up to full roll, and certain issues would need to be looked at in further detail.

The petitions committee agreed to recommend that as well as option B – a two-tier structure for the whole Alnwick Partnership resulting in the closure of four middle schools and two first schools, a mixed-economy option, separating Alnwick from the rural areas, is consulted on.

The proposals will be discussed by the council’s children’s services committee this morning before going to the cabinet this afternoon for a decision on whether to launch a further consultation, and on which options.

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