Two-tier school system in Berwick recommendation for Northumberland county councillors

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The Berwick area is set to switch to a two-tier system of education.

Northumberland County Council plans to invest £40million in schools in the Berwick Partnership – but the local authority has stressed the system needs to be “sustainable”.

It therefore came up with two detailed proposals based on the current three-tier system and a new two-tier system. And a report on the findings of the latest round of consultations, published on Tuesday, recommends that a two-tier system of primary and secondary schools is in the best educational interests of children and young people.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Under the proposed model, the partnership’s first schools would expand their age range up to 11 to become primary schools from September 2025 and Berwick Academy would become an age 11 to 18 secondary academy from September 2026.

Berwick Academy would become an age 11 to 18 secondary academy from September 2026.Berwick Academy would become an age 11 to 18 secondary academy from September 2026.
Berwick Academy would become an age 11 to 18 secondary academy from September 2026.

Closures of some first schools were under consideration, but the recommended two-tier model would mean all first schools would stay open.

Berwick Middle School, Glendale Middle School and Tweedmouth Community Middle School would close on August 31, 2026.

The recommendations include that Belford Primary School moves from the Berwick Partnership catchment to the greater Alnwick Partnership from September 2024.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Specialist provision would also be expanded, with 70 new places created across the partnership for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN), specifically for those with primary needs in social, emotional and mental health and autism, where there is a growing need.

Glendale Middle School in Wooler.Glendale Middle School in Wooler.
Glendale Middle School in Wooler.

Coun Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation investment that will transform education in the Berwick Partnership for generations to come.

“It’s vital that we first make sure that we have a sustainable school system that will work best for our young people now and long into the future.

“This report is the latest step in the process and I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation so far.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Every comment has been considered and it is very clear that all those involved have the very best interests of pupils and families at heart.

“If these recommendations are approved, everyone will once again have the chance to share their views.”

The report will be discussed by councillors at the Family and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, May 4. It will then be considered by the Cabinet on Tuesday, May 9.

If approved, a four-week statutory consultation will take place, with a report to Cabinet on its findings and a final recommendation in July.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Coun Colin Hardy, county councillor for Norham and Islandshires, said: “The first schools in Norham, Ford, Lowick, Holy Island and Scremerston remaining open with an extended age range from three to nine at the moment to three to 11 would be great news for our rural communities and would hopefully help attract more young families to villages and rural communities.”

Audrey Kingham, the council’s director of children’s services, said: “Following the two phases of consultation, the local authority now has a responsibility to provide system leadership regarding school organisation and therefore a clear recommendation to propose a two-tier structure for Berwick Partnership is set out in this report.”

You can read the report in full in the council’s meeting agenda list, item five, at