County council sets the record straight on schools consultation

Northumberland County Council has issued the following statement on consultation on schools in the west of the county.

Cllr Wayne Daley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Members for Children's Services at Northumberland County Council said:  "We recognise that this consultation has caused much debate in communities, and appreciate concerns have been raised by partners, schools and parents. We genuinely welcome how engaged all partners and schools have been so far, and many are now exploring innovative ways to continue to deliver first class education in their area.

“The majority of schools in the west of the county supported the idea to consult in this way to debate these issues, and we are committed to undertaking an open and transparent exercise.

"However, it's important to reiterate that the options outlined in the consultation are for consideration, and no decisions have been made. Indeed, through this consultation, we actively invite alternative options - nothing is set in stone.

“The decision to undertake consultation was deemed necessary as there are a number of fundamental issues affecting education in this area, which still remain.

“Bright Tribe abandoning Haydon Bridge and Hadrian Learning Trust’s stated desire to move to 11-18 school provision, which the council don’t control, means that we simply can’t ignore the fact the something needs to change.”

The county council is seeking community responses to inform issues that need to be addressed:
  • The unsatisfactory situation at Haydon Bridge High School, the withdrawal of the Bright Tribe Trust, and the Regional Schools Commissioner's concerns about the school - this instigated consultation on future options for the school.
  • The desire of Hadrian Learning Trust to move to an 11-18 school - this is not a council decision.
  • Essential investment in Queen Elizabeth High School's facilities.
  • The reduction in pupil places in some areas, meaning those schools are either financially or educationally not viable in the long term.
  • The need to create a sustainable system in the west of the county in which precious resources are spent most wisely.
Cllr Daley added: “All options will be considered, and vitally help inform the results of the Hadrian Learning Trust consultation on 11-18 school provision, which the council has no control over.

"Please be assured that we are listening to all views expressed, all of which will help shape what happens next."

Consultation runs until 9 April 2018, with a number of consultation events planned over the coming weeks. A link to further information can be found here.
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