'It should not be the only option' - MP Emma Lewell-Buck joins fight against closure of South Shields School
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has hailed the possible closure of a school in her town as "an insult" to teachers, pupils and parents who have been working hard.
Attending a protest in the town today, the MP called on people across the borough to join the fight to save South Shields School, which is threatened by closure.
Speaking to the Gazette, Mrs Lewell-Buck revealed that she had been contacted by "thousands" of parents, pupils and staff about the school's future - and that she was going to continue standing up for those affected by its potential closure.
South Shields School was rated as "inadequate" following its most recent Ofsted inspection in October last year. By law, South Tyneside Council cannot maintain a school rated "inadequate".
Over the summer, it was announced that the school may face closure after failing to find a sponsor to convert it into an academy.
South Tyneside Council then launched a consultation, appealing to pupils, parents, staff and the wider community to share their views on why it should remain open.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said: "It cannot be right and it should not be the only option that closure is being looked at when you have a school that has its best GCSE results that it's ever had and that Ofsted has said is moving in the right direction and improving.
"What an insult to those staff and the headteacher and all those pupils who have pride in their school and have worked hard to get their school to that improvement level to now be told, 'the only option for you is your school's gonna close'."
The South Shields MP is also calling for more information to be provided by the council, so the community can understand the wider impact the school's closure could have on the borough.
She went on to thank everyone who attended the protest in the town centre , despite the wet weekend weather.
She added: "Days like today have been amazing.
"Get behind the campaign because if this is made easy, the closure of this school, your school could be next."
No changes will be made to South Shields School during the current academic year 2018/2019.
The first stage of a consultation on the school's future was launched by South Tyneside Council on September 20, and will run until November 2.
Its aim is to seek the views of those affected, with questionnaires made available at previous meetings held for parents and carers.
All answers to the questionnaires should be returned by November 2 to School Admissions, South Shields Consultation, South Tyneside Council, Town Hall and Civic Offices, South Shields, NE33 2RL. They can also be emailed to email@example.com.
The responses to this first stage of consultation will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting on November 14, before a decision is made on the next stage of action.
*Parents and pupils are advised to call the council's dedicated number 0191 4247847 for more information and support.
*For more information, visit the council website here.