School consultations

Here you will find consultation on proposed school partnerships, plans for academies and other changes to schools organisation.

For full details of the consultation proposals for education in Northumberland see the sections below:

On Tuesday 12 May 2020, the Council's Cabinet approved for implementation the proposal to close West Woodburn First School with effect from 31 August 2020.  There are currently no children on roll at the school.  The reasons for the decision are:
  1. West Woodburn First School has no pupils on roll currently and there have been no applications for a place in Reception Class for the September 2020.  Local parents have removed their children from the school over the last 18 months in particular and no longer support the school.
  1. In spite of the efforts of the federated Governing Body of the River Rede Federation and staff at both West Woodburn First and Otterburn Primary, West Woodburn has not been able to retain children on its roll or to attract additional pupils to the school since the two schools federated.
  1. There continues to be a decline in the number of children being born in the West Woodburn catchment area and at some point in the near future this would have caused concern about the viability of the school in any event.
  1. There have been no viable alternatives put forward to the closure during the informal and formal stages of consultation on the proposal to close the school.
  1. The nearest school to West Woodburn that offers primary education from Reception to Year 6 is Bellingham Primary School, which is 4.65 miles away.  The majority of children who were on roll at West Woodburn initially and who were removed were enrolled at Bellingham Primary and it is for this reason and others that the catchment area of West Woodburn will be allocated to Bellingham Primary.  Otterburn Primary is 5.7 miles from West Woodburn, and the nearest faith school is Wark CE Primary at 10 miles away.  Children living in the current West Woodburn catchment area but attending Bellingham Primary School would be entitled to transport as Bellingham will become their catchment school.  Transport to alternative schools would be based on the Council’s Home to School Transport eligibility criteria, but it is expected that all children living in the West Woodburn area would be eligible for transport to Bellingham.
  1. The West Woodburn school building is not used as a community facility, but Cabinet acknowledges that the loss of any school has an impact on the local community to a greater or lesser extent.
  1. For the reasons set out above and in the light of the statutory guidance on ‘Rural Schools and the presumption against closure’, Cabinet believes that it is in the best interests of education in the local area that the school closes with effect from 31 August 2020.
The consultation on this proposal has been extensive, reasonable and robust.
Following Cabinet approval in July 2018 to create a sustainable education system in the west of the county, and as substantial capital investment is required to address considerable backlog maintenance issues, significant work has been undertaken to identify options for new school buildings for the incorporation and co-location of Hadrian Learning Trust schools (Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School) on a suitable site in Hexham.
The documents below are the Outline Business Case (including appendices) for the replacement school buildings for Hadrian Learning Trust:

FINAL Outline Business Case - Replacement School Buildings for HLT schools
Conservation Comments - The Hydro Building, Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham
Planning - Letter to NCC Education - Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham


Appendix 1A-Outcomes of Statutory Consultation on Proposals for Education in the West of Northumberland
Appendix 1B - Hadrian Learning Trust Outcomes of Consultation 2 - 29 March 2018
Appendix 1C - Pupil Catchment Data – QEHS
Appendix 1D - Pupil Catchment Data – HMS
Appendix 1E - Schedule of Accommodation
Appendix 2A - Procurement Report
Appendix 2B - Procurement Programme
Appendix 4A - HLT Education Brief
Appendix 4B - Desktop Study
Appendix 4C - Geophysical Survey
Appendix 4D - Ground Investigation Report
Appendix 4E - Hydro Measured Survey
Appendix 4F - Arboriculture Survey
Appendix 4G - Flood Risk Assessment
Appendix 4H - Topographical Survey
Appendix 4I - Utilities Survey
Appendix 4J - Third Party Users
Appendix 4K - Transport Assessment and Travel Plan
Appendix 4L - Preliminary Ecological Appraisal
Appendix 6A - Risk Register
Northumberland County Council has previously consulted on its approach to the introduction of the National Funding Formula (NFF) in Northumberland, following discussions at Schools Forum.  Feedback from consultation has consistently been to move NFF values in a phased or gradual approach, reflecting the fact that historically Northumberland has maintained some values that were different to the NFF values.
Latest guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) has reiterated their intention to introduce the “hard” NFF but there is no specific timescale currently for this. It has been confirmed that for 2020/21 local authorities will continue to have discretion over their schools funding formula, and in consultation, will determine values and allocations in their area.
Northumberland Schools Forum met on 18 November 2020 and agreed a series of recommendations on which we would like to consult with schools.  PLEASE NOTE: All responses must be returned no later than 12.00 noon on Monday 14 December 2020.  Due to reporting deadlines in line with DFE requirements for the submission of information, consultation responses received after this closing date will not be considered.

Schools can access the consultation document via the Schools E-Courier.
Please see the links below for information.  
On 11 March 2019, the Council was informed that it had been successful in moving to the next stage of the bid to establish a Special Educational Needs Free School in Blyth.  The Cabinet gave their approval on Tuesday 9 April 2019 for the Local Authority to accept the conditions relating to the next stage of the bid.

You can access a copy of the Cabinet Report, Letter from the DFE, and Northumberland's Specification document regarding the proposal to open a free school:

Your Questions Answered

Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

The following Diocesan schools are consulting on their 2021-2022 Admissions Policies:
St Patrick’s RC Primary School, Stockton (Stockton)
Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Fenham (Newcastle)
St Thomas More Catholic School, Blaydon (Gateshead)