Northumberland school closure gets council backing

Netherton First School. Picture by Jane Coltman
Netherton First School. Picture by Jane Coltman

Councillors have approved the final stage ahead of the likely closure of a rural Northumberland first school this summer.

At Tuesday’s (May 8) meeting of the county council’s cabinet, members agreed to move forward with the closure of Netherton Northside First School from the end of this academic year.

They approved the publication of a statutory proposal to shut the school from August 31 – a consultation will now run for four weeks with the final sign-off by the cabinet on July 10, less than a fortnight before the end of term.

The governing body at the school, to the north-west of Rothbury, were the ones to propose it should close this summer.

It currently has just three pupils, set to become two in September, and there are three alternative schools nearby, two of which are within five miles.

In February, the cabinet agreed to launch a first consultation on the future of the school, which retained its good Ofsted rating last April, after councillors accepted there were not many options other than closure.

A report following this consultation concluded that ‘the governing body and the majority of respondents, including parents, while expressing regret at the proposal, have all supported the proposal to close the school as being in the best educational interests of the children’.

It added that the cabinet should agree that there are no viable alternatives and move on to the next stage.

By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service