Consultation over under-threat South Shields School ends - now the waiting begins

The consultation over the future of an under-threat school has ended.

Monday, 5th November 2018, 5:00 am
Updated Monday, 5th November 2018, 11:03 am
South Shields School protest over closure with NASUWT, staff, parents and children

Parents, staff and those with an interest in South Shields School now have an agonising wait to see what action South Tyneside Council will take.

South Shields School, in Nevinson Avenue, was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in 2017, which triggered a search for an academy trust to sponsor the school.

When a sponsor could not be found, a consultation on its future was launched.

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By law, the council cannot maintain a school which has been rated by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’.

The consultation, which ended on Friday, focused on the reasons for potential closure, believed to centre on falling pupil numbers, arrangements for transition of pupils, a timeline for transition, and closure and information about alternative schools in the area.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “A report outlining the responses collected during the consultation period will be presented to the cabinet at their meeting on November 13.

“Members will use the information to decide whether to proceed to a further statutory representation period.”

Since the news broke, parents have joined staff and union officials to protest against any plans to close the school.

This summer the school recorded its best-ever GCSE results, with a 22% improvement rate. It was also the second-most-improved school in the North East.

Last week, protesters campaigned outside the school gates before they travelled to Darlington, where they handed a petition into the Department of Education.

A second protest was then held outside South Shields Town Hall.

Now the consultation has ended, a report outlining the responses will be created and presented to the next meeting of the council’s cabinet.

Speaking at the protest, Simon Kennedy, regional branch of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said: “The petition was about showing the overwhelming support the school has, and its importance within the local community.