Protestors show '˜overwhelming' support as demonstrations demand safe future for South Shields School
Parents, pupils, teachers and union officials joined forces to stage two protests in a bid to save an under-threat school.
Around 100 people braved the rain in solidarity in the fight to save South Shields School from potential closure, yesterday.
Stood outside the premises in Nevinson Avenue, they received support from passing vehicles as they waved their placards.
The group, then took their campaign to Darlington where they handed in a petition to the Department of Education, before returning to South Shields to continue their protest outside the town hall.
The school was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors prompting a move to academy status. However, a sponsor failed to be found and a consultation on its future has now been launched, prompting the action by worries teachers, parents and pupils.
This year the school recorded its best GCSE results, but by law, South Tyneside Council cannot maintain a school with such a rating.
They were joined by South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and Beacon and Bents Councillor Angela Hamilton, along with members of South Shields Green Party.
Mum Angela Coates from Whiteleas said: “The headmistress has done a fantastic job and we have some fantastic teachers in the school. The school has been great for my children.
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“When I found out what was happening, I was really upset.”
Stephen Brennan, 13, said: “It is an amazing school and all the teachers are amazing. They have been working hard to make the school the best they can.”
Simon Kennedy, regional branch of NASUWT teachers union said: “This school is a great place for pupils to learn and the teachers want that to continue.
“The school has had its challenges but they have got through those challenges, it had a 22% increase in results in the summer and was the second most improved school in the North East.
“The head teacher was told she had three years to turn the school around, and we are not yet at the three years mark.
“The petition was about showing the overwhelming support the school has and its importance within the local community.
“The ideal outcome is to gain support from the local authority and improvement teams and for Ofsted to come in and take another look at the school.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: “I think closure is a knee jerk reaction and we need to look at other options to save the school.”
A spokesman for the council said: “We encourage all parties to have their say through the formal consultation route, which has been conducted to minimise impact on pupils’ learning. As the consultation is currently underway, it would not be appropriate to comment further.”