Action, not words, is wanted over promises to help school

James Calvert Spence College
James Calvert Spence College

‘We are failing our children’. That’s the view of a concerned councillor who believes the local authority is not sticking to its promise of helping Amble’s James Calvert Spence College (JCSC).

Former town mayor Jane Dargue wants action and not words from Northumberland County Council, calling for it to work with the school to formulate a strategy to transform education in the town.

She claims that Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services, vowed to help formulate a business plan, but this has not happened.

At last Thursday’s Amble Town Council meeting, Coun Dargue made an emotive plea for action.

She said: “One of the things that was promised was that a meeting would take place involving Coun Daley to set up a business plan to help the school, but months and months have gone by and I gather from the school that no meetings have taken place.

“I feel really strongly about this. We should write to Coun Daley and ask what is happening and what are you doing.

“We need to say that you promised you would have dialogue, but nothing has happened.

“It should happen and it should happen now. At the moment, we are going round in circles and time is pressing. We are failing our children.

“The draft Local Plan talks all about education, but what is happening here makes a mockery of that.”

Coun Helen Lewis said that she understood that a meeting had happened, but ‘not a very productive meeting’.

Last year, the-then Labour administration unveiled a scheme to transform JCSC, but after the Conservatives came into power, the group said no business case had been made and the JCSC plans would be considered as part of a county-wide review

After the meeting, a county council spokeswoman said: “The Cabinet member for children’s services and local County Councillor Jeff Watson attended a meeting of the town council earlier this year to discuss issues around education and investment around Amble.

“The cabinet member for children’s services and senior education officers had a constructive meeting at the school with the head, deputy head, business manager and the chairman of governors in mid-July to discuss potential future capital building projects at JCSC.

“A number of options were discussed, which are now being considered. As soon as we are able to share plans more widely we will do so.”