Parish council opposes change to school system

Protestors who want to save Seahouses Middle School
Protestors who want to save Seahouses Middle School

The majority of councillors who will have a final say on the education system in Seahouses are based in the south-east of the county.

That is a major concern to members of North Sunderland Parish Council, who discussed the proposed changes to schools within the Alnwick partnership at their February meeting.

One of three options currently being consulted on, to move from a three-tier to a two-tier system, would result in the closure of Seahouses Middle School in 2016.

The village made its views against this clear at public meetings held in the first and middle schools last month.

“There were 250 people at the meeting at the middle school,” said Coun Sylvia Hillan. “Apart from the odd one who abstained, everybody was against a two-tier system.

“What really annoys me is that the decision will be made by 10 councillors on the county council’s policy board. Seven out of 10 of them are Labour councillors from the south-east. They live in Blyth or Ashington where their children can walk to the schools.

“We have a different life here all together – we have a village life and the schools are an important part of it. If the middle school were to close, it would be a huge miss for the whole village.”

Coun Kelvin Rushworth suggested inviting the members of the policy board to come to the village and see the situation for themselves.

“Let’s inform them,” he said. “We should invite them here to meet the staff and children of our schools. The policy board members have a responsibility to take on board the views of this community.”

Coun David Donaldson added: “We are very fortunate in this village that both of our schools are excellent. The facilities are good and the quality of teaching is extremely good. Changing to a two-tier system came up 11 years ago and parents threw it out then – let’s hope that happens again.”

The parish council will give its feedback opposing any change to the current system.