Village schools to become primaries in re-organisation

Village schools will be switched from a three-tier to two-tier education system next year.

Northumberland County Council has approved the changes for the Ashington Learning Partnership Trust, which will see Ellington, Pegswood and Linton First Schools turned into primaries.

The change means that pupils will stay on at the schools for an extra two years, until the age of 11.

Bothal and Hirst Park Middle Schools will be closed, and Ashington High School Sports College will take pupils from the age of 11, rather than 13.

It will come into effect from September.

Consultation with staff, parents and governors earlier this year found widespread support for the switch, and local councillors have welcomed the move.

Pegswood member Alan Sambrook said: “I know there are a few parents who want to see Pegswood in the Morpeth partnership of schools to increase pupils’ chances of getting into the Morpeth middle schools or King Edward VI School, but I don’t think that will occur unless there are a lot of parents getting their kids into those schools year on year.

“Now the system has been changed it will strengthen Pegswood’s viability. It will be a good thing for the school and build its strength up even more.

“As long as the school is on a par with the results of the Morpeth schools I don’t think people will have anything to worry about. We might end up with children from other areas coming in. We have already started getting one or two children from Longhirst coming to Pegswood.

“Funding goes with pupils so the school will retain that funding longer if the pupil stays in the school. It will be the same for Ellington and Linton as well — we all will benefit.”

The partnership says the change is designed to provide stability and consistency for pupils and should raise standards and improve results.

Lynemouth member Milburn Douglas, whose area includes Ellington and Linton, said it will also give children more confidence.

“For the children, it means they will stay on until they are 11, which is a bonus because it will give them that little bit more security and confidence when they do move up to the next level,” he said.

“It will keep them all together, which will help parents.

“We know that Linton, in particular, is a small community so it will help with its viability as well.”