Consultation on future of education

Plans have been drawn up looking at the future of education in the borough.

Officials at North Tyneside Council have spent the past year looking at the way forward for the system after concerns were raised about the number of surplus places at schools, highlighted after the opening of Kings Priory School in Tynemouth.

And at their meeting on Monday, cabinet members will be asked to approve a formal consultation on three possible approaches for improving the education system.

The options are being put forward following an in-depth review of North Tyneside’s education system. The purpose of the review was to make sure the borough’s education system was in the right shape to tackle the challenges and opportunities it faces over the next ten years.

And council officials have stressed the proposals will not see any schools closed or the three-tier education system scrapped in Whitley Bay.

Mayor Norma Redfearn said: “North Tyneside has some great schools and colleges. However, there are issues we need to tackle if we want our school system to be ready for the next decade.

“We have achieved a lot and the people delivering education in the borough are doing a great job but we know that we need to do some things differently to make sure our schools system remains amongst the best in the country.”

The review has assessed schools and college on key factors including standards of achievement, condition of buildings, pupil numbers and financial predictions.

It has also mapped other challenging factors such as surplus places, changing birth rates, projected housing development, youth unemployment and standards at post-16.

Funding for new school buildings at John Spence High School, Marden High School, Longbenton Community College, Backworth Park Primary School and Whitehouse Primary School has been considered.

However, the review also considers changes proposed for Norham High School from 2015/16 and capping numbers at George Stephenson High School.

Coun Ian Grayson, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, added: “We now have a detailed picture of the challenges our education system faces as well as clear knowledge about where our opportunities lie.

“We need to secure the future success of our education system if we are to secure the future success of our young people.”