No plans for alternative pupil places near closure-threatened South Shields School, council reveals

South Shields School.
South Shields School.

There are no plans to boost pupil places at alternative schools nearest to South Shields School should it close, Town Hall bosses have said.

South Tyneside Council has today issued a statutory notice for the proposed closure of the school,  in Nevinson Avenue.

The school is facing the prospect of closure on August 31, 2020 following its failure to convert to an academy.

Related: Closure-threatened South Shields School could stop admitting new Year Seven pupils next year under council plans

Parents, pupils and the public are being a chance to have their say on the proposals before a decision is made in the new year.

According to a public notice issued by the council: “It is proposed to phase implementation of the closure and all displaced pupils will be offered a school place at alternative schools in the area which have available places.

“There are eight alternative secondary schools in south Tyneside.

“There is no intention to increase the number of places at the nearest alternative schools, as there are sufficient surplus place available across the borough.”

The latest survey follows an ‘informal consultation’ which ran for six week from September – November, with most of the 183 responses to this opposing plans for closure.

South Shields School was ordered to become an academy last year following an ‘Inadequate’ inspection by schools watchdog Ofsted.

However, it was unable to find a suitable academy sponsor to allow it to complete this due to viability concerns, mainly relating to falling pupil numbers.

At the start of the academic year the school had about 550 pupils roll and was predicted to be less than half full by 2020/21, if it stayed open.

And according to a report for councillors in South Tyneside, by November 6 there had been 129 requests from parents for transfers to other schools.

Despite saying it won’t be adding to pupil places in the borough to accommodate demand should the school close, it has said it will consider the impact on travel.

The notice said: “It is recognised that displaced pupils will need to make new journeys to school and some pupils may have further to travel.

It added: “It is anticipated that displaced pupils will walk, cycle or use public transport to travel to the alternative schools.

“Free transport would be provided where pupils meet the eligibility criteria.”

The latest consultation is due to last four weeks, ending on December 19, during which anyone can submit comments.

Following this, education rules mean the council has two months to make a decision on the school’s future, which is expected to be done when cabinet meets on January 23.

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service