'Pupils are our priority' says head of closure-threatened South Shields school

Allie Denholm, the headteacher of South Shields School, has pledged that pupils' education will not suffer during the consultation process.
Allie Denholm, the headteacher of South Shields School, has pledged that pupils' education will not suffer during the consultation process.

The headteacher of a South Shields school threatened by closure has said she will do her best to ensure pupils' education is not disrupted.

As we revealed yesterday, South Shields School has been told it could be closed after failing to find a sponsor to enable it to become an academy.

South Shields School has been unable to find a sponsor to enable it to become an academy.

South Shields School has been unable to find a sponsor to enable it to become an academy.

South Tyneside Council is preparing to launch a consultation process on the future of the school in Nevinson Avenue, Whiteleas, which was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted at its last inspection in October 2017.

By law, the council cannot maintain a school with such a rating, and is now obliged to launch a consultation into its future.

The news came as a bombshell to the school's 500 pupils and their parents, as our story was the first they had heard of it.

A consultation process on the future of the school could begin on September 13.

South Shields School headteacher Allie Denholm with some of her pupils.

South Shields School headteacher Allie Denholm with some of her pupils.

This would be a six-week informal consultation with the school, parents, other local schools, trade unions and other interested parties.

This would be followed by a statutory consultation later in the year, with a final decision on the future of South Shields School made next year.

Today, Allie Denholm, headteacher at South Shields School, promised that during the consultation, she and her staff will try to ensure that pupils' education does not suffer, particularly those entering their GCSE year.

She said: “We’ve made a great deal of positive change in the school and our efforts have truly gathered momentum in the past year, resulting in a glowing monitoring report from Ofsted inspectors in June.

"It saddens us that the school has to move into consultation following these positive steps which has resulted in an increased pupil attendance and results which are predicted to be the highest in the school’s history.

Read more: Under-threat South Shields school site ‘must be used for education’, even if it closes

"We’ve received overwhelming support and confidence from parents, which is also evident through pupil numbers remaining the same.

“Although we acknowledge that there is still more work to be done, we’re taking fast and positive steps, moving on a rapid improvement trajectory to achieve our vision of ensuring all pupils are free to explore new opportunities, achieve great results and ultimately go onto successful careers.

“We care deeply for the welfare and success of all our pupils and will ensure the consultation causes no disruption to their education.

"They remain our utmost priority and we will remain focused on doing all we can to assist our current pupils set to take their GCSEs, ensuring they achieve results that their incredible efforts truly deserve.

“We will be keeping in close contact with all of the parents in the lead-up to the consultation to ensure any questions they have are answered.”