More than 6,000 sign petitions to save South Shields School
More than 6,000 people have signed petitions opposing the proposed closure of a school in South Tyneside.
Earlier this month, South Tyneside Council issued a statutory notice for the closure of South Shields School, in Nevinson Avenue.
It is facing the prospect of closure on August 31, 2020 after failing to find a sponsor so it could convert to an academy.
The council has received 129 requests for pupil transfers to other schools but a campaign has been launched to keep it open.
Two ‘Save South Shields School’ petitions were submitted to a full council meeting on Thursday - with a total of 6,630 signatures.
An online petition had 2,738 signatures – 984 from people living in South Tyneside – and a physical petition with 3,892 signatures.
South Tyneside Mayor, Coun Ken Stephenson, said the petitions were not up for debate at the meeting.
Head teacher of South Shields School, Allie Denholm, praised the level of support from parents and carers.
She said: “It has been extremely motivating for everyone connected to the school and has been a tremendous support for all staff here.
“I have absolute faith in the resilience of our team who will continue to be wholly professional and also provide a positive support system for the students through this challenging period of the school’s history.
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“I want to reassure everyone involved that myself and my incredible team of teaching and support staff will continue to provide the highest level of care and education to our students.
“Our Year 10 and 11 students have made rapid improvements since the start of the school year.
“That level of dedication from our students has been matched with a humbling level of support from parents and carers.”
The move to take South Shields School out of local authority control was triggered after it received an ‘inadequate’ rating from Ofsted last year.
It is understood that its failure to attract an academy sponsor was linked to falling pupil numbers which had an impact on the long-term viability of the school.
A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “The petitions will be considered through the appropriate channels.”
The latest stage in the consultation on the school’s future is due to end on December 19.
During this time, any interested party can submit comments.
Following this, education rules mean the council has two months to make a decision on the school’s future.
This is expected to be done when cabinet meets on January 23.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service