SCHOOL: Credit for first class facility

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On September 27, we attended the Duchess’s Community High School open evening at the invitation of headteacher Maurice Hall, along with many parents of prospective pupils.

We were so impressed we felt it proper to record our appreciation publicly.

In his opening remarks, Mr Hall made light of the years of uncertainty and difficulty he has been through to lead his school to this point, when even its initial opening last year was not the final chapter.

He has had to navigate some treacherous waters after the county council, with his support and ours, decided to abolish middle schools in the Alnwick partnership and revert to a two-tier system. But what a fine high school Alnwick now has.

The children and teachers who displayed the facilities reflected to the highest degree the school’s mission to provide a great learning experience, and there could be no mistaking their immense enthusiasm and pride.

We were escorted by two bright and well-motivated Year 12 pupils and saw excellent facilities, whose purpose was explained with fascinating clarity and humour by keen and happy young people.

The extension to accommodate Year 11 to 13 pupils, though not yet in place, is progressing well and should be completed by May. The temporary accommodation is far better than many anticipated and the school is managing a complex situation with remarkable competence.

For at least 10 years two of us have made every political effort to obtain the first class high school now in place that our children deserve.

It is to the credit of the Conservative Government that the money was allocated to build it, and to the former Labour county council that money was found to make education in Alnwick two-tier in line with the rest of the nation.

Gordon Castle, Alnwick county councillor,

Robbie Moore, Alnwick county councillor,

Trevor Thorne, Shilbottle county councillor