Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Struggling School Set to Be Saved in Rescue Plan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Struggling School Set to Be Saved in Rescue Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN O'CONNELL Local Democracy Reporter

ATROUBLED high school in the west of Northumberland will be brought back under council control and saved through a PS1.54m rescue package.

At a meeting of Northumberland County Council's cabinet yesterday, members unanimously agreed the next steps in a major reorganisation of education in the Hexham and Haydon Bridge areas.

Following an informal consultation which put up to 16 schools at risk of closure or merger, proposals were unveiled a fortnight ago which would see just one close - Bellingham Middle School.

Councillors have agreed to launch a statutory consultation on the closure of this school as well as converting a number of first schools in the Haydon Bridge Partnership into primaries - Bellingham, Kielder, Otterburn, Greenhaugh, West Woodburn and Wark.

A final decision will be taken on July 10.

But stepping in to save Haydon Bridge High School, which is in special measures, following the withdrawal of Bright Tribe Trust as academy sponsor, has been approved.

At last Thursday's family and children's services scrutiny committee, there was optimism about its future, despite some concerns.

Councillor Wayne Coun Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children's services, also revealed the council is trying to reclaim Northumberland's share of PS230,000 from Bright Tribe.

He said: "I do not actually know what they have done with their PS1m and we want it back because it's public money."

There are going to be no changes in the organisation of the Hexham Partnership, although councillors also agreed to "establish a resilience programme" by encouraging schools to form a hard federation or federations so that small rural schools can work together.

It was also agreed that council officers will start looking, alongside the Hadrian Learning Trust which runs Queen Elizabeth High School, at proposals for redevelopment of the existing schools on one of the current sites or on a new site in Hexham. …

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