£700,000 fund to help deal with fallout from closure of South Shields School

Education chiefs have set aside more than £700,000 to deal with fallout from the closure of South Shields School.

South Shields School
South Shields School

Before the coronavirus outbreak tore up headteachers’ plans, the secondary school, in Nevison Avenue, had been due to officially shut for good on August 31.

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And now bosses have agreed to hand out up to £739,047 to help other schools in South Tyneside take on pupils from South Shields School.

“We’ve got two contingencies available for schools to cover falling rolls and significant increases in pupil numbers,” said Teresa Race, a senior manager at South Tyneside Council finance department.

“Similar to what’s happened in previous years due to pupils moving from South Shields School to other secondary schools in the borough, in March we received applications for funding from the Growth Fund from schools.”

Race was speaking at a meeting of the council’s Schools Forum, which brings together elected councillors and headteachers.

In normal years, schools can apply to either the Falling Rolls Fund, to cope with a drop in funding caused by a fall in pupil numbers, or the Growth Fund, to cover the increased costs of a rise.

Due to the number of youngsters forced to find new schools due to the impending closure of South Shields School, the forum was asked to temporarily merge the funds to provide support to other schools.

Race added: “Even with the Growth Fund carried forward and the 2020/21 allocation, it is still likely that requests for funding will be higher than the funds we have available.

“As it is also unlikely any school will be eligible to apply for the Falling Rolls Fund in 2020/21, it’s therefore proposed that the Falling Rolls Fund be added to the Growth Fund to reflect the increased call on the Growth Fund.”

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Forum chairman Tony Gill, headteacher at Hedworth Lane School, said circumstances meant the Falling Rolls Fund was ‘essentially redundant’ for this year.

The borough’s Growth Fund for 2020/21 is currently worth £539,047, including £239,047 rolled over from last year, while the Falling Rolls Fund contains £200,000.

Members of the forum agreed to transfer the cash from the Falling Rolls Fund to the Growth Fund for this year.

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