Berwick schools fund reinsurance and over 400 people attend colleges information event

Councilor Georgina Hill raised the issue at a meeting the same week an information event was held at Berwick Town Hall which was organized so that the staff and governors of Berwick Middle School and from Tweedmouth Community Middle School can highlight their Save Our Middle Schools campaign.

Under the proposed three-tier model, Norham CE First and Scremerston First schools, as well as Glendale Middle School, would close.

Staff from both colleges were on hand to speak with those who attended the information event. Photo by Margaret Shaw.

Under a two-tier model, Scremerston First and Glendale Middle schools would close again, along with Berwick and Tweedmouth middle schools.

At the November 2 full council meeting in Morpeth, one of the questions came from Coun Hill – independent councilor for Berwick East.

She asked: “The current consultation on the reorganization of schools in the Berwick Partnership area is, as these things always are, inherently complex and the final decisions are simply unable to please everyone.

“Can I please be assured that this will not be used as an excuse for the (council) administration to walk away from the commitment to invest £40 million in new school buildings for Berwick?”

Clare Shaw speaks with researcher Bridget Shaffrey during the information event. Photo by Margaret Shaw.

Child and Youth portfolio holder Guy Renner-Thompson mentioned the ongoing consultation in his response and also that the county’s schools investment program as a whole “will make us one of the counties the best equipped in England”.

Coun Hill then asked for clarification that ‘the £40m will remain earmarked in the council’s next budget – yes or no?’.

To this question, Councilor Renner-Thompson replied “I haven’t seen the exact details, but yes”.

In February last year, Coun Hill campaigned and succeeded in changing the council’s budget to increase the overall commitment, originally planned by the Conservative administration for new school buildings to £19.8million sterling, which will be increased to £40 million.

Pipers from the Berwick and Eyemouth Band, one of whom is a teacher at Berwick Middle School, greeted the attendees. Photo by Margaret Shaw.

After the meeting, she said: ‘We need to revamp it well and we need this investment to ensure that the children and young people of Berwick can enjoy learning in modern, state-of-the-art facilities, as opposed to old crumbling buildings. and ineffective.

“Rumors persisted that the Tories were planning to back down on that £40million pledge, which was part of their election manifesto, so I was delighted to hear what Guy said at the meeting – well that the final proof will be when the proposed new budget is released. »

The Saturday information day at the town hall included display boards showing what school life is like for students at both colleges.

Clare Shaw, Berwick Middle School Governors Chair, said: “It was a successful day for us. A lot of work went into organizing the event and most of the staff from both schools came, which showed their passion for saving our colleges.

Over 400 people attended the information event. Photo by Margaret Shaw.

“It was also good to see members of the public and people from various organizations showing interest.

“There was great support for our petition on the day and after, with a QR code to help people, and over 700 people in total went to www.change.org/p/save-our-middle- schools to sign the petition.”

She added that more events will take place by the end of the consultation on March 3.

Over 400 people attended the information event. Margaret Shaw spoke to some of them to get their perspective.

Former mayor Councilor Anne Forbes said: “I support the three-tier system because at present there would only be one school for 11+ and her Ofsted report is not not brilliant.”

NEU representative Phil Rowett said, “We need a once-in-a-lifetime solution. Not one that needs to be revisited in the next few years.

Townsman Mark Nicholls said: “I am here to ensure that the democratic process is respected. It is morally right for schools to remain open.

Stephen Havelin, Governor of Tweedmouth Middle, said: “The (Berwick) Academy has a bad reputation. Parents who can send their children elsewhere and the less able are left behind.

The mayor, Councilor Mike Greener, and Eddie Mullins, his sheriff, both present in a private capacity, said they were brought up in the two-tier system and were here to try to understand the two proposals and to show the public their interest in the future of the city’s young people.

Mandy Skeldon, Catering Manager, said: “The refreshments provided today cater to those who are vegan, gluten-free or vegetarian, just as we provide a varied education to enable all to thrive.”

A parent, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I have a daughter at Berwick Middle and one at Wooler. That works. There is care and emotional support, as well as academic success.

About John A. Provost

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