Friday, October 16, 2009
Primary School review proposes 3 school closures in Whickham area
The long awaited review of primary schools in the Whickham area is now underway. The review has come about because of a fall in the number of children living in the area. As a result, there are many more places in local schools in total across Whickham and surrounding villages than there are children to fill them.
Whilst some schools are full, others have places available which continue to cost money to maintain. The Council’s initial proposals to get rid of surplus places include:
1)considering closing Washingwell, Marley Hill and Sacred Heart (Byermoor) schools;
2)building a new Front Street School but changing it from a 2 to one form entry.
Gateshead Council has put these proposals out to consultation and no decision on actual closures and reorganisation will take place until next year.
“We do need to ensure that surplus places are reduced,” said Councillor Allison Chatto, “but I believe that Washingwell has a good case for being kept open.
“It has just had a very good review by government education inspectors and is in a safe location away from main roads.”
Washingwell governor, Councillor Peter Maughan, said, “Washingwell is one of the newest schools in the area and is providing a great education for local children.
“Though there is a need to reduce surplus places, I think the arguments for keeping Washingwell School going are overwhelming.”
Pictured above, Washingwell School Governor Cllr Peter Maughan and Lib Dem campaigner Neil Bradbury outside Washingwell School which is being considered by Gateshead Council for closure.