Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Standards Fall May See School Closure; Failure Comes after Praise by Watchdogs

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Standards Fall May See School Closure; Failure Comes after Praise by Watchdogs

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Black

ATROUBLED school looks set to close because of its failure to meet national performance standards - less than a year after classroom watchdogs praised its recovery efforts.

Education bosses are proposing to shut 220-student Bedlingtonshire Junior High in Northumberland after standards at the end of Key Stage Two fell below Government requirements for the last six years.

Department for Education rules say that the only options for such schools are closure or conversion to an academy - and the latter is not seen as a viable solution for the Bedlington school. Now the county council's executive has agreed to launch formal consultations on shutting it in August this year, as part of a wider shake-up which would see a two-tier system introduced in part of the Bedlington schools catchment area.

The move follows a number of actions taken in recent years to improve the performance of Bedlingtonshire Junior High - formerly known as West Sleekburn Middle School.

It was twice placed under special measures by Ofsted, in 2003 and 2007, after being assessed as failing, but was later removed and re-rated as satisfactory.

Four years ago the school was moved from its remote site at West Sleekburn to the Bedlingtonshire High School campus. It was re-named and became part of a federation with the high school, sharing the same board of governors and principal.

Its latest Ofsted report last June assessed it as "satisfactory and improving" and paid tribute to the work of the school's leadership, saying the "legacy of under-achievement is being successfully tackled."

County council executive members were told that the closure proposal is down to the school's consistent failure to achieve Key Stage Two floor standards. Education officials say a "more radical" solution is now required.

Under the proposals going out for consultation, Bedlingtonshire Junior High would close in August. …

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