The future of a South Tyneside school has been thrown into doubt as it is forced to go down the route of becoming an academy.
South Shields Community School, in Nevinson Avenue, has been left no option but to look to convert to academy status after its latest Ofsted inspection report rated it as “inadequate.”
The rating led to a compulsory order being granted in line with Government legislation.
There are currently over 500 piupils at the school.
A search has now been launched by the Regional Schools Commissioner to identify an academy trust to sponsor the school.
The move to schools becoming academies is not one which has proved popular with South Tyneside Council - with councillors opposing moves by others wanting to go down the academy status route.
Hopefully, we will be having a meeting with the Director of Education soon to see what is happening and to see what can be done to secure the school’s future.Coun Ernest Gibson
However, on this occasion, the decision was out of the council’s hands.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Counbcil said: “Following an inspection in October 2017 South Shields School, was rated as ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted and as such a compulsory academy order was granted in line with legislation.
“The Ofsted judgement relates to educational outcomes for pupils and the progress they make at the school. Whilst pupil numbers are falling, the school is not currently in financial difficulties.
“Where a school is judged to be inadequate the Regional Schools Commissioner seeks to identify an academy trust to sponsor the school and for it to convert to academy status.
“This process is ongoing and we are not aware of any decision by the Department for Education on the future of the school.”
Inspectors carried out a visit of the school in October, where despite reporting senior leaders and governors, had the “capacity to further improve the school” they found it still required improvement in a number of areas and rated it as “Inadequate.”
Whiteleas Coun Bill Brady, who is also a school governor, said: “If becoming an academy is what takes to save it, then I’m all for it.
“We have to put the case forward and hope someone will take it on.”
Coun Ernest Gibson added: “We want the best education for our children and the best for the staff who work there. Rumours are rife the school is closing and we would hate for that to become a reality.”
“Hopefully, we can see what can be done to secure the school’s future.