SCHOOL PROVISION IN OUR DISTRICT: WHAT’S YOUR VIEW?

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The news that our First School is seeking a new full-time head is surely welcome. It suggests that the governors have confidence in the school, and want to ensure that it can go forward, with the confidence of local people, and more important, local parents, behind it.

However, good news is not the entire story of state school provision where we live. All schools in the North Northumberland area have been unsettled by the unilateral decision to convert to a two tier system by the Alnwick partnership, and the recent construction of an entirely new High School. This has led to the likely closure of Belford Middle School, which has lost a significant number of its students to the Duchess School.

Lowick First School, which is on the edge of this upheaval, naturally feels the shockwaves – as children leaving for middle school have sometimes chosen Belford as their first choice.

As the dominoes continue to topple round the district, Northumberland County Council remains distant and silent about its role in helping schools sort out the mess – not that it can probably do much. And Central Government, which gave schools the freedom to do what they like, regardless of local provision, has washed its hands of the whole business, though it is entirely responsible.

In Belford, discussions now centre on whether the first and middle schools can become a primary school – negotiations complicated by the fact that Belford Middle is a Church School, while the First School is owned by the County.

If you have a view, then now is the time to express it – where it counts – with our County Councillor, and our MP. Give us your views, and we will pass them on.

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