Hands off our schools!

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Local schools have always been at the heart of our close-knit rural communities in Northumberland. It is one of the few remaining parts of the UK where a three-tier school system still exists and thrives.

The system has outstanding outcomes for the children, is perfectly suited to rural Northumberland and allows youngsters to begin their education in their local towns and villages without having to travel long distances.

But this way of life is under threat and up to 16 schools could be closed.

Not because the schools are failing, or because the system is not working, but due to inadequate funding and broader pressures and agendas.

It is a hugely disruptive solution looking for a problem and we, the parents, say no!

Our children are not just statistics or guinea pigs... they are our future. And we will fight for that future!

Communities will be torn apart if we are forced to abandon an education system that fits Northumberland's unique circumstances.

Under the proposed changes, thousands of children - some as young as five - will be bussed from their villages to schools miles away.

There are huge risks associated with transporting that many children en mass each day. The prospect of regular bus cancellations during our inclement winter weather is, quite frankly, keeping us all awake at night.

Families are very upset at the prospect of losing schools they know and love and access to wraparound childcare.

Jobs and communities are also under threat. The village first schools are a huge draw for young families and boost for local economies. Without them we will be left with ageing and struggling communities.  

We feel particularly disheartened that a decision already appears to have been made.

So we are calling for an end to this sham consultation, which is only designed to confuse!

We insist the proposed two-tier model is taken off the table and that funding is improved so that our excellent schools can continue to prosper and serve the children of our small, rural communities.

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It could be (wrongly) interpreted that parents support the proposed move to a two-tier system if there is a lack of response to the consultations. So please have your say (even if you do not like any of the options that have been tabled)!

Use the following link to offer feedback to Northumberland County Council. Note that option B proposes the unpopular move to a two-tier system.


The proposals

Model A: Haydon Bridge High School would merge with Hexham's Queen Elizabeth High School with the Haydon Bridge site closing. Additionally, a merger of first schools to create larger first or new primary schools would see eight existing sites closing

Model B: Haydon Bridge High School would merge with Queen Elizabeth High School, while all middle schools and up to seven first schools would close or merge with newly established primary schools

Model C: A new school for pupils aged 4-16 would be built in Haydon Bridge and a new school for 9-18 year olds would be constructed in Hexham. Bellingham Middle and Haltwhistle Upper schools would close and merge with neighbouring schools. Up to 10 first and primary schools would merge

Hadrian Learning Trust has also published its own consultation document on whether Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School should go two-tier, and whether QE should take students from Haydon Bridge High School is the council decides to close it.

Parents have until 29th March to send their response: http://www.qehs.net/files/docs/formal_consultation_document_mar18.pdf

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