Success for outings saved from axing

Ruth Bull, headteacher at Glendale Middle School.
Ruth Bull, headteacher at Glendale Middle School.

Pupils at a north Northumberland middle school, whose hill walks were almost axed during a health and safety row, have enjoyed their outings again this year.

In July, the Gazette reported on the furore which blew up after Glendale Middle School was told it wouldn’t be able to take children on challenge walks, including up Cheviot, due to a lack of qualified staff to lead the events.

Eventually, an agreement was made with Northumberland County Council that staff could be trained and then assessed to the level they required for such activities.

And so, in September, four teachers and teaching assistants spent a full day on the Cheviot Hills with Adventure Training North East, before undergoing an assessment in Alwinton a week later. All staff passed with flying colours.

The North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Service had also volunteered to assist the school following the previous coverage in the Gazette.

The sponsored walks were therefore able to take place at the end of last month, although the first attempt was postponed due to adverse weather.

Headteacher Ruth Bull said: “In the end we had a gorgeous sunny day and we could see for miles.

“Supported by the North of Tyne Rescue Team and parents and friends of Glendale we had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

“Year 5 and 6 walked 7.5 miles, Year 7 walked 9.5 miles and Year 8 walked 11.5 miles.

“In all, 128 pupils set off on the walk and 125 completed their routes without a hitch.

“We are now busily collecting in the money, which is to pay for transport for activities at the school, sports fixtures, visits, etc.

“As Glendale is in a rural location the cost of transport adds a huge amount to the cost of visits and this walk helps to subsidise all these activities.

“We feel as the children have earned the money by walking, then it teaches them that ‘nothing is for free’.

“We would like to thank the Gazette for raising our plight back in the summer because with your support we have succeeded in allowing our children to enjoy our local environment and learn to love the outdoors.”