New bid to change age range at Pont school

Ponteland Community Middle School (PCMS) is now proposing to become a primary school.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 11 January, 2019, 17:54
Ponteland Community Middle School.

It has previously carried out consultations about changing the school’s age range from nine to 13 to nine to 16.

But following discussions with Department for Education (DfE) officials in September and October, a letter was sent out to parents, carers and all stakeholders just before the end of term.

The new consultation about the proposal to move to a primary setting – nursery to Year 6 – and vary pupil admission numbers from 150 in each year group at the moment to 60 or 90 children runs until January 31.

PCMS, which currently covers Years 5 to 8, has been looking at options to secure the school’s future for some time as a result of the rest of Ponteland’s schools changing to a two-tier system.

This meant students that would have been leaving the middle school in Year 8 under its current arrangement were facing having to go to a school in another area for Years 9, 10 and 11 as the new Ponteland secondary school will be taking each cohort starting in Year 7 through to Year 11.

The letter includes the following: ‘PCMS is committed to the local community and keen to ensure a cohesive pathway for all children within the two-tier system in Ponteland.

‘We propose converting to primary and joining a Multi Academy Trust – providing a transitional pathway and community cohesion.

‘We will continue to develop our teaching school alliance, as has been the case for the past four years.

‘We have witnessed great change within education, with other local schools becoming two-tier and forming Pele Trust.

‘As Ponteland Academy, a separate academy, we are outside local authority control and so it is incumbent upon the trustees to determine where they believe the future of the school lies to best serve its community.

‘We have explored all options open to us to secure the school’s future, ensure the school will continue to thrive and flourish and be part of the community for future generations.

‘We have arrived at the decision, in consultation with the DfE, that it is in the best interests of all stakeholders that the proposal of age range change to a primary is considered.

‘In pursuit of excellence for pupils, the school and our community, we are consulting to change the age range and pupil admission numbers. We believe we can extend our outstanding provision from nursery to Year 6.’

The consultation document can be viewed at www.ponteland.academy and a hard copy is available from the school office.