Proposal put forward to turn school into academy

The Blyth School
The Blyth School

AN application has been made to take a school in south east Northumberland out of local authority control and turn it into an academy.

The interim executive board (IEB) has invited Northern Education Trust to be the sponsor of Blyth School Community College.

The IEB, appointed by Northumberland County Council, is currently waiting for a decision on the recommendation from the Secretary of State.

Les Walton, chairman of Northern Education Trust, said: “We are delighted to be deemed worthy of consideration.

“Once we have received the decision from the Secretary of State we will hold public meetings to share and discuss our vision for Blyth School Community College.”

Earlier this year, inspectors demanded action to improve the school after ruling it was failing to give its students the required standard of education.

Ofsted put the school into special measures to tackle shortcomings identified during a two-day inspection carried out just before Easter.

The inspection team that visited the school, created ten years ago following the merger of the former Tynedale and Ridley high schools, concluded that it was inadequate in a number of areas.

They initially gave the college a notice to improve, but that was then followed by an amended ruling requiring special measures to be taken.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: “I was never a great fan of academies.

“When it all goes pear shaped who is there to rescue them?

“They are on their own and there is no back up like the education authority.

“But anything that can improve on the three Ofsteds they have had, well I wish them luck.

“”What will be, will be.

“All we can hope is that the kids can get the best education. That is the most important thing.

“I just want to wish them all the best and good luck in what could be their new independent adventure.”

The school, rated as satisfactory following its previous Ofsted inspection in 2008, teaches 1,000 youngsters aged 11 to 18.

It has an above-average number of youngsters with special educational needs or in receipt of free school meals.

The school’s acting headteacher Alison Jobling said: “A letter has gone out to parents explaining that at the last interim executive board meeting a presentation was made by Northern Education Trust.

“The board are considering the option of an academy sponsor for the school.

“The board agreed that this was the best way forward for the school in line with current guidance from the Department for Education about schools in Ofsted categories.

“The board intend to apply to the Secretary of State to request an Academy Order with Northern Education as the sponsor.

“At the moment this is a proposal and will involve an extensive consultation process prior to any final decision being made.”