Middle school’s victory for common sense

Glendale Middle School's Safety Day.
Glendale Middle School's Safety Day.

A north Northumberland school, whose outdoor activities were under threat due to a health and safety row, is now confident they will go ahead.

The furore 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.

But on Friday, county council officers met with headteacher Ruth Bull and local councillor Anthony Murray, who is also vice-chairman of governors at the school.

Following a long discussion, it was eventually agreed that the council would carry out an assessment for a number of school staff to qualify them for the walks.

A four-hour evening session will take place in September to assess the competence of staff to lead walks in the hills.

The school agreed that it will get as many Mountain Leaders as it can but these certificated staff will be able to lead walks too, especially the lower-level walks.

This will enable the school to meet the ratio of one qualified adult with six pupils to go up Cheviot next year and one to 10 pupils for the other walks.

Mrs Bull said that the school had a magnificent response to their situation from all areas of the community with many coming forward to help man events – the Duchess’s High School volunteered staff, local qualified people and other trainers came forward and the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team has volunteered to staff the sponsored walk with suitable personnel and equipment.

Coun Murray said that the second meeting was ‘very, very positive’ with the council representatives ‘keen to help’.

“The school will still have to stick to the regulations,” he said. “But we can look forward to our sponsored walk, and our challenge walks next summer.”