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Rural Northumberland school closure given final sign-off

Netherton Northside First School. Picture from Google Street View
Netherton Northside First School. Picture from Google Street View

The closure of a rural Northumberland first school at the end of term has been given the final sign-off by councillors.

The final bell will ring next Friday at Netherton Northside First School, to the north-west of Rothbury, after Northumberland County Council’s cabinet approved the closure on Tuesday.

It was the final stage in a process which began in February, when the cabinet agreed to launch a first consultation on the future of the school, as requested by the governing body, after councillors accepted there were not many options other than closure.

Netherton currently has just three pupils, set to become two in September, and there are three alternative schools nearby, two of which are within five miles.

A report following the first consultation concluded that ‘the governing body and the majority of respondents, including parents, while expressing regret at the proposal, have all supported the proposal to close the school as being in the best educational interests of the children’.

Therefore, in May, the cabinet approved the publication of a statutory proposal to shut the school from August 31, sparking a four-week, formal consultation.

A report to councillors stated that no responses had been received to the statutory consultation and the parents of children at the school, while disappointed, supported the closure.

All three children currently at Netherton have found places at other schools for September.

By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service