South Shields Catholic school announces extension plans

Headteacher Brendan Tapping at St Wilfrid's RC College in South Shields.
Headteacher Brendan Tapping at St Wilfrid's RC College in South Shields.

A South Tyneside school which recently decided to push ahead with a bid to become an academy has now revealed new extension plans.

St Wilfrid’s RC College, off Temple Park Road, South Shields, is set become the borough’s third secondary school to take the academy route – giving it more autonomy over its future and finances.

Academy is in the best interests of the pupils

Brendan Tapping

It would follow in the footsteps of Whitburn C of E Academy and St Joseph’s RC Academy in Hebburn.

The school’s governing body agreed to proceed with the application in July despite disapproval at the move from the borough’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) and South Tyneside Council education bosses.

Now it has emerged that a planning application is about to be submitted to the local authority for a new teaching block within the school site.

Local residents and other interested parties can explore the plans at a drop-in session at the school next Tuesday, between 3.30pm and 6.30pm.

A school spokesman said the application was not directly connected to the academy. The extra accommodation is needed because of increased pupil numbers and a shortage of space.

But the spokesman said a successful application would enable the school to bid for government funding to finance the new extension.

Headteacher Brendan Tapping has said he was sure the move to academy status was “in the best interests of the students, families and staff, our mission as a Catholic school and the wider community”.

The result of the academy bid is expected in December of January.