South Shields school was and is a brilliant school. That is why many of us, the parents, chose this school. But in 2017 the school was deemed inadequate by Ofsted.
Leading up to this, the council brought in a new head who along with her team were implementing improvements within the school. Being deemed inadequate forced the regional schools commissionerand the school to find a sponsor with no success, thus prompting our council to approach the regional schools commissioner and the academies minister, Lord Agnew, to close the school. This meant approximately 550 students were to be displaced to two surroundingschools.
We the parents, the staff, the community, one councillor and an MP fought back against the closure. Throughout the consultation we sent hundreds of emails, handed petitions in, did everything we could throughout the consultation stage. But the regional school commissioner confirmed that Lord Agnew had agreed to the closure before any consultation had begun.
Despite efforts by all involved in campaigning to save our school the council went ahead and made the final decision to close it in January 2019. Despite the council claiming a fall in numbers along with the inadequate rating was the reason behind the school closure– making the school unviable – the campaigners, the public, believe the real reason is still ambiguous. Despite claiming viability is an issue the council still refinanced the PFI on the school in December 2017. These PFIs are destructive.
The final decision was made in January and four months later Ofsted came in to re-inspect the school. The rating was reviewed and graded at Requires Improvement. We, the parents, begged our council to allow time for Ofsted to inspect the school, to be given a fair chance to fight to revoke the order under the alternative option under clause 12 of the Academies Act however they would not agree, claiming the fall in numbers. Our numbers were damaged as parents tried to get the school of their preference – which had limited spaces. This would leave only one option for parents whose children were to be displaced.
The information in the meetings was incorrect with an extra 300 approx added onto our schools capacity. This was changed when parents addressed the issue. Our staff have been amazing, the campaigners, students and parents have all shown dedication to their children’s education. Without our dedicated staff our school would have been destroyed in the midst of losing their jobs. They have all stood strong alongside the greatness of our school community and those involved to fight back.
If you want to know more or have similar situation at your school please get in touch.