South Shields School closure: Head tells of 'deep disappointment'

The head teacher at South Shields School has spoken of her disappointment at South Tyneside Council's decision to close the school next year.

Allie Denholm said: "Firstly, I would like to thank the staff, governors, parents, carers, MPs, students past and present and members of the local community who have provided South Shields School with an overwhelming and humbling level of support.

The closure of South Shields School has been rubber-stamped by councillors.

The closure of South Shields School has been rubber-stamped by councillors.

"This has helped to sustain us through what has been an understandably difficult period for all. The result of today’s cabinet meeting is deeply disappointing, but this does not take away from the brilliant achievements of the school.

Related: South Shields School WILL close, despite efforts to keep it open

"Our number one concern has always been the welfare of the students at South Shields School.

"Our main priority is to continue to provide our students with excellent educational provision, something they truly deserve.

Head Teacher Allie Denholm

Head Teacher Allie Denholm

"The staff at South Shields School are extremely dedicated and it will be some comfort, particularly for year 10 students, that staffing remains stable for their exam years.

"We continue to predict improved results again this year and current year 10 predictions are also extremely promising.

"We are fully committed to delivering a quality transition for students as they join neighbouring schools.

"We want to ensure that students receive the best care and support, in order to minimise any detrimental effects associated with school closure.

Related: The options considered for keeping South Shields School open

"We continue to do this by providing excellent teaching, learning and pastoral support, utilising a range of resources and strategies in school and working closely with the Local Authority.

It is unfortunate that closure has been decided following the need for forced academisation and the subsequent lack of a sponsor capable of taking on a PFI contract.

"Forced academisation was a result of the Ofsted report received back in October 2017, when the school was undergoing a period of rapid transition and leadership improvements were noted by inspectors.

Related: Cash pot to help South Tyneside schools cope with extra pupils

"Since then we have seen the school go from strength to strength, with our successful monitoring report in May 2018 and our much improved GCSE results last summer.

"It is extremely sad for both our students and staff that, due to current legislation, this is not enough to maintain our school into the future.

"With the introduction of the new Ofsted framework in September 2019, we hope this will remove the risk of similar outcomes for other schools in the region and that schools undergoing a transformation will be given the time to implement change sustainably without the threat of closure.

"We urge everyone connected to the school continue to share the positive narrative around our ongoing achievements and most recent successes.

"We remain devoted to the success of our students and continue to provide them with an excellent quality of teaching and learning."