SCHOOLS: What about consultation?

Having read the Northumberland Conservative’s Northumberland News ‘Hexham Special’, where a statement has been issued that their administration’s plan is for a two-tier system of education across the whole of Northumberland, I thought I should steer my note to the public through your newspaper.

The document in question illustrates support by Northumberland Conservatives and is complete with a photo of Guy Opperman MP.

There is to be no consultation as to whether three or two-tier education is the choice of people living in the West of the county, it’s simply what type of two-tier system do you want? Do you want to let Northumberland Conservatives close 13 or 16 schools?

What I would like to know, as do a number of your readers who have contacted me, is does Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP support the closure of middle schools and small rural first schools in the North of the county without proper consultation with schools or parents?

Is the proposed money-saving exercise of closing schools and losing jobs, and the heart of many small communities, simply to balance the books, given the Conservative Government’s under-funding and reduced funding of schools continues?

I find it very worrying that four-year-old children will be put onto public transport to travel, in some cases, many miles each day to and from their new primary schools, and they will remember those experiences their whole life.

Hearts will be ripped out of communities. We still suffer many years on from the LibDem/Tory closure of Druridge Bay Middle.

I was also saddened to see the withdrawal of funding completely from the Conservative budget for investment in Amble’s education system. It would appear that if you live outside Ponteland there was little in the budget for anyone. Local Tories have failed to get any deal or investment locally from the Ponteland Tory leadership.

Thankfully, the new hotel in Amble, a Labour investment, continues while everything else has been halted and redirected. So at least those jobs will still be created.

Scott Dickinson,

Chairman, Northumberland Labour Group

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