Change plan for Ponteland schools ‘would help our students’

Ponteland High School headteacher Kieran McGrane.
Ponteland High School headteacher Kieran McGrane.

Moving to a primary and secondary model of education in Ponteland would bring a number of benefits, according to a headteacher.

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet supported the plans this week by agreeing to the publication of statutory proposals following a vote. A final decision will be made in July.

If final approval is granted, Ponteland High School will become a secondary school and a range of first schools will become primary schools.

The bulk of the investment to go with the change would be allocated to the new Ponteland Secondary School and Primary School on a shared site with leisure facilities.

Ponteland High headteacher Kieran McGrane said: “If we get final approval, moving to a two-tier system would bring Ponteland’s schools into line with the vast majority of schools across the country and we would become more accountable for our results, which I think is a good thing.

“It would be a fantastic opportunity to develop new school buildings that will stand the test of time and provide facilities which our students really deserve.

“The benefits of this system include students being able to benefit from specialist teaching across all subjects in Year 7 and Year 8.

“I can understand the views and concerns of parents, but our governors have children who are going through or have gone through the Ponteland Partnership of schools and the vast majority of them believe it is the right time to move to a primary and secondary model.

“Alongside the other schools that will change, we will work hard to ensure the transition period is handled sensitively so that none of our pupils are negatively affected by the switch.”

Ponteland Community Middle School has been granted an academy order and has been removed from local-authority control.

On this development, Mr McGrane said: “If it remains as a middle school within the Ponteland system, we would work alongside it like we would with any other school.

“There would be an issue with intake of students, but we would have to find a way around that issue.”