Cheviot Learning Trust responds to concerns over new admission policies by parents of child at first school in Northumberland

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Concerns have been raised over the potential impact of new admissions policies that affect a number of schools in Morpeth and elsewhere.

A parent of a child at Longhorsley St Helen’s C of E First School has shared their response to a recent consultation by Cheviot Learning Trust, which was created in 2023 from a merger of Tyne Community Learning Trust and The Three Rivers Learning Trust, with the Gazette.

They said it would no longer guarantee their child, who started at Longhorsley in September 2019, a place at Chantry Middle School in Morpeth.

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Cheviot Learning Trust has said this week that it has made an amendment following the feedback which will retain ‘a reference to the other feeder schools in the Greater Catchment Area’.

Longhorsley St Helen’s C of E First School. Picture by Google.Longhorsley St Helen’s C of E First School. Picture by Google.
Longhorsley St Helen’s C of E First School. Picture by Google.

The parent’s response included the following: ‘The proposed changes are unfair and they have caused a lot of upset, stress and anguish for those affected.

‘The proposed changes are a direct action which pose a serious risk to the well-being of my daughter and the other children affected.’

The rationale for the changes is to ensure that children are educated as close to home as possible and therefore children living in catchment areas have been given the highest priority (after ‘Looked after Children’).

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Simon Taylor, Cheviot Learning Trust co-chief executive officer, said: “The admissions committee carefully considered the consultation documents and responses and took on board some of the objections. In particular, the committee decided to adopt the proposed admission policies for the trust’s schools but with a slight amendment – retaining a reference to the other feeder schools in the Greater Catchment Area.

“This addresses the major concerns raised by some of the schools which feed into Morpeth Chantry Middle School and Dr Thomlinson C of E Middle School.

“The trust will shortly forward a copy of the admission policies for its schools to Northumberland County Council, which will also be published on the schools’ websites.”

Paul Truscott, chair of governors at the Federation of Longhorsley and Whalton Church of England Schools, said: “We appreciate the concern that this is causing families. However, we also appreciate the need for the Cheviot Learning Trust to review its oversubscription policy and ensure it is properly serving all the children in the local community.

“We have asked the trust for reassurance that our existing children are offered places once it is time for them to move up.”