Parents invited to drop-in session about Northumberland schools shake-up

Northumberland’s Labour leader has urged parents to have their say over plans to reorganise schools in the Amble area.

By Amanda Bourn
Monday, 16th May 2022, 2:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 11:27 am
James Calvert Spence College building in Acklington Road, Amble.
James Calvert Spence College building in Acklington Road, Amble.

At a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet last week, members approved plans to consult with parents ahead of a £25.5m investment in the Coquet partnership.

Four areas of improvement have already been identified, which are:

• To improve key stage two outcomes;

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Cllr Scott Dickinson.

• Retain more pupils, particularly in the secondary years;

• Improve the special educational needs offer within the partnership, to meet pupils’ needs “as close to home as possible”;

• Invest in current building stock.

Reorganising the partnership into a two-tier system is also on the table, and now parents’ views are being sought via a six-week consultation which runs until June 29.

Labour’s Scott Dickinson said: “Schools belong to the people living in the area, not the Conservative-led council.

"The consultation on our small community schools is really important. People need to understand what a primary and secondary system versus the current first, middle and high would look like.”

Northumberland County Council is hosting a drop-in session to answer questions about the consultation on Saturday, June 11 from 10am until 3pm in Amble Masonic Hall, Gloster Hill.

Mr Dickinson added: “I have asked if more local meetings can take place for affected areas like Hadston, Widdrington and Red Row because it's difficult to get to meetings, find out information or express an opinion on the future of your schools if you have no car.

"The time also excludes people working during the day on a Saturday.

“It's absolutely vital to make your voices heard. Anyone can; it's for the whole community to decide. These are your schools.”

The area’s ward councillor, Jeff Watson, added: “So much is happening in Amble, the population is going to go up enormously.

“I don’t care which way the public and schools want this to go, we will go the way the people want to go, whether it is two or three tier. Hopefully we will have a plan that everybody can live with and have proper facilities for our kids in the Amble area, which has suffered for the last few years.”