Council offers support on school-led closure plans

The Governing Body of St Mary’s Church of England Voluntary Aided Middle School has launched a consultation on the future of the school, with options including its possible closure at the end of August 2017, as a result of falling pupil numbers and concerns about its ability to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum.


The local authority did not instigate this proposal but have offered to provide guidance to governors as they carry out their consultation.


The Director of Education at Northumberland County Council met with the Chair of Governors and the Diocese to discuss the rationale behind the consultation and will be providing all possible support available to the school and community.


The Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) raised concerns about academic outcomes at the school and both the local authority and the Church of England’s Diocese of Newcastle will be discussing this further with the RSC.


Director of Education for the Diocese of Newcastle Paul Rickeard said, “The Governors of St Mary’s School are facing some very difficult decisions but both the Church and the Local Authority respect their commitment to the children in their care, and will give them every possible support in making their choices for the future and implementing them for the benefit of the whole community.”


A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “Delivering the best possible educational environment for pupils is a priority for the County Council and we will do all we can to work with and support all the bodies involved moving forward.

“We realise that current funding arrangements are making it increasingly difficult for small schools to survive and provide the breadth of curriculum that organisations such as Ofsted and the Regional Schools commission require. The council will continue to do all it can to support governing bodies to help them provide educational excellence.”
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