The executive headteacher of Wooler’s two schools updated the parish council this week on the success of the merger of both schools onto one site.
At the September meeting of Wooler Parish Council, Mike Deane-Hall, head at Glendale Middle School and Wooler First School, said that the move of the first school onto the Brewery Road site had gone very well.
“Most of the large issues that were mooted last time I came to see you have been dealt with,” he said.
He also talked about the issue which had proved the major talking point – the changes to early-years provision, pointing out that the school had no control over the decision made by the county council to close its facility.
Mr Deane-Hall explained that the governors decided to step up to the challenge and offer nursery provision for two, three and four-year-olds.
“The future of the provision is now very much in the hands of the community,” he said. “The key issue is making sure it’s sustainable.
“The governors are very aware and have taken responsibility for that.”
The majority of children are three and four-year-olds, but there are some two-year-olds, which offers its own challenges, not least that while the ratio for those aged three and four is one trained member of staff per eight children, the ratio for two-year-olds is one to four.
The challenges increase still further to provide provision for babies, with extra facilities and equipment needed, as well as extra staff.
Mr Deane-Hall said that the governors decided that with everything else going on, it would not be sensible to provide that service, looking after ‘the most precious things people have’. “I think it would be foolhardy to offer that provision when we just weren’t ready for it,” he said.
Coun Anthony Murray said: “You have assured education in Glendale for many years to come as we now have something strong enough there that the powers that be cannot say ‘no more’.