Public drop-in sessions take place on future model of schools in Berwick
12 Jul 2022
Two public consultation drop-in sessions will take place this week to discuss the future model of schools in Berwick.
The Council has allocated almost £40m of funding from its budget for capital schemes to improve school buildings and facilities in the Berwick Partnership, including a new home for Berwick Academy.
But first, members of the public are being asked for their views to help shape the plans and make sure the funding creates a sustainable school system that is in the best interests of young people who attend schools in the Berwick area, now and in the future.
Consultation opened on May 23 and will run until August 12, with the consultation document available online. But this week, council and school representatives will be on hand to provide further information and answer any questions.
The events will take place on:
Wednesday 13 July, 5.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Venue: Bell View Resource Centre, 33 West Street, Belford, NE70 7QB
Saturday 16 July, 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.
Venue: Berwick Community Trust, The William Elder Building, 56-58 Castlegate, Berwick upon Tweed, TD15 1JT
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Guy Renner-Thompson, said: “It’s important we get this major investment in the Berwick Partnership right from the very start to ensure we have a sustainable education system, with first-class facilities and first-class teachers, to deliver the best outcomes for our young people.
“That’s why we want to seek opinions from pupils, parents, carers, school staff and the wider community of the Berwick Partnership area on all stages of the education system - from early years, through to schools, SEND, post-16 and post-18 provision – to create a shared vision for the future.
“We hope all interested parties will come along to these events to find out more, ask any questions and share their views.”
Fewer children are being born in the Berwick Partership area with 128 surplus Reception places expected by 2025. Over a quarter (28%) of high school pupils are also leaving the partnership area for schools in Alnwick, Scotland and the private sector.
The first stage of a planned two-stage informal consultation will cover whether the Berwick Partnership should continue to be organised in a three-tier system or move to a two-tier system of primary and secondary schools.
Special educational needs and disability (SEND), Early Years, Post-16 and Post-18 provision will also be under review to see where improvements can be made and how more needs can be met closer to home.
Views will also be sought on whether Belford Primary, Wooler First and Glendale Middle Schools should join the Alnwick Partnership to better reflect the flow of secondary aged pupils.
The second stage will then focus on detailed proposals for individual schools within a wider school reorganisation of the Berwick Partnership, which may include possible school closures.
In a joint statement, the headteachers of the Partnership, said: "The Berwick Partnership is blessed with great schools and these offer our children and young people brilliant opportunities for exploring learning and developing socially in safe and supportive environments.
"All the schools work closely together to provide the very best education for the pupils in our care.
"After much careful discussion with the local authority, the headteachers of your schools put forward their ideas for the future of education in Berwick.
"The funding available will enable the Partnership to develop further the offer for our students. However, falling numbers of children in the partnership are an issue and this is not sustainable, so by having your say in the consultation you can influence the shape of education in the Partnership, not just for the next few years but for the next generations.
"This is everyone's chance to "get it right" for our young people; to increase the offer for children with additional needs so that they do not have to travel to access the education they deserve, to enhance the already highly respected education offered to all our young people and to develop further opportunities for young people post-16.
"You can be assured that whatever decisions are made over the next few months, the headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants, support staff and governors in all our schools will continue to provide the high standards of education your children already receive."
For further information and to have your say visit: https://padlet.com/Northumberland/Berwick