School completes conversion to academy status

Ponteland Community Middle School.
Ponteland Community Middle School.

Ponteland Community Middle School will become an academy trust from tomorrow, following the signing of a key document last Friday.

This marks the final stage in the process of ensuring its long-term future after it was threatened with closure last year.

It successfully applied to the Government for an academy order and then progressed to become a foundation school. It also secured the freehold of the land, including the state-of-the-art artificial football pitch.

Now final agreements have been made between the middle school and Northumberland County Council to allow the academy conversion to take place.

Over the coming weeks, the new trustees will work with parents, the school community and stakeholders to develop a sustainable, hybrid educational model and discussions will take place with other schools.

Headteacher Caroline Pryer said that while plenty of work will be going on behind the scenes, when term starts next week it will be ‘business as usual for children, parents and staff’ and the Ponteland Community Middle School name will not change.

She added: “This is great news as we can now go forward knowing that the school is staying put at its current site and it will continue to provide for the community.

“We are very grateful to the county council. The support of the new leadership following the election in May has been invaluable in helping us to secure our long-term future.

“The Department for Education has been brilliant during the process and we would also like to thank the solicitors and project company involved in our conversion to an academy.

“We look forward to working with other governing bodies as we develop a hybrid educational model and we will be having a series of meetings and discussions with parents, so we can examine in detail how best we can meet their needs.

“Our academic achievements have confirmed the reputation for the school, where again our superb Key Stage 2 SATs results are more than 20 per cent above the national average.

“We have accepted more than 150 Year 5 children for the new school year and are oversubscribed for the new Year 6, Year 7 and Year 8 places.

“A potential partnership is with the North East Futures University Technical College (UTC), which opens in 2018.

“We already have a long-standing partnership with the UTC movement that has enriched our own curriculum and opened up amazing opportunities for our children to experience new and exciting science and technology topics.

“The school’s email address has been changed to reflect our new status. We can be contacted at admin@ponteland.academy”