Staff formalise efforts to keep middle school open

Pupils forming a Ponteland Middle School human flag on the playground.
Pupils forming a Ponteland Middle School human flag on the playground.

A campaign has been launched in an attempt to prevent the potential closure of Ponteland Middle School.

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet gave the go-ahead for a consultation about introducing a two-tier system of education for Ponteland at its meeting last week.

The first schools in the partnership believe that extending their provision by moving to a primary and secondary model will result in greater long-term security, particularly for the rural schools.

If this were to happen, Ponteland Middle School would close in August 2019.

An online petition to save the school has been launched and yesterday, it was due to receive 5,000 poster leaflets, 1,000 car window stickers and banners directly outside the school and the fencing at the nearby puffin crossing.

Headteacher Caroline Pryer said: “Our governors would like to reassure parents that the school is considering alternative options to keep our twice outstanding exemplar school at the forefront of the children’s education in Ponteland.

“It almost defies logic to close a school which is doing so well.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the supportive letters, emails, cards, comments and social media messages that we’ve received.

“They are humbling and inspirational and are energising us to keep going.

“The children matter and we’re putting them first in the focus of this campaign.”

Parents were able to find out more information about it and the consultation process during an information evening at the school on Monday.

The MP for the area, Guy Opperman, said this week: “Whilst there may be benefits to the surrounding first schools of extending their age ranges, I personally can’t support a consultation which proposes closing Ponteland Middle School.

“It is now vital that Northumberland County Council listens to the people of Ponteland. If local people are opposed to these plans, it would be a real mistake for the county council to go ahead.

“If they say that the county council should abandon these proposals and maintain the three-tier system, then that is exactly what the authority should do.”

To view the petition, visit bit.ly/SavePCMS