Major reorganisation of schools in the west

Northumberland Gazette latest

Consultation has been launched on a major shake-up of 16 schools in the west of Northumberland, which could see up to 10 closed or merged.

Leaders of schools in the west have already been consulted over the last month and now the second phase will see it opened up to the wider community.

Parents, schools and the wider community are being asked to give their views on three possible models in the Hexham, Haltwhistle and Haydon Bridge areas.

The council has been forced to consider the future for education in the area due to several factors outside its control, including the withdrawal of the Bright Tribe Trust from potential sponsorship of Haydon Bridge High School, the Department for Education’s request that the council look at potential closure of that school, the Hadrian Trust consultation on forming an 11-to-18 school in Hexham and the financial difficulties forecast by several schools in the light of new national funding regulations.

Three proposals have been put forward with views being sought on these three models, although other ideas are also welcomed.

Model A would see Haydon Bridge High School merge with Queen Elizabeth High School (QEHS) in Hexham and the current Haydon Bridge school would close.

There would be mergers of some first schools to create larger first or primary schools, which could result in the closure of up to eight school sites.

Model B would involve a more wide-ranging reorganisation; Haydon Bridge High School would merge with QEHS.

All of the middle schools and up to seven first schools would close or merge with newly-established primary schools.

Under model C, a four-to-16, all-through school would be established in Haydon Bridge to replace the high school on its existing site. A nine-to-18 school would be established in Hexham.

In this model, Bellingham Middle School and Haltwhistle Upper Academy would close and merge with neighbouring schools, while up to 10 first/primary schools would merge and buildings would close.

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