Is the Current First/Middle
and High School structure in Northumberland inferior to a
Two Tier Primary/Secondary structure?
Almost all commentators now agree that the key difference
in educational performance comes from leadership and quality
teaching, not from the structure of the school
“We accept as a Department that both systems can be
effective, and we are not aware of any clear research evidence
to suggest that one is preferable to the other”.The
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills
(Mr. Stephen Twigg):
Surplus Places are given as
a major reason for changing the system. What is the actual
In 2003in an OFSTED report the LEA (NOT the schools) was
heavily criticised for its management.
In one part of the report it was felt not to be addressing
the surplus places problem in sufficient depth.
In December 2003, it brought out the “Putting the Learner
First” document using surplus places as one leg of its
There is a problem, it is local and particular, affecting
mainly first schools, and only some areas.
This does not justify t he wholesale restructure.
The forecasts are for surplus places to expand rapidly, but
the trends don’t suggest that. Over the last decade
school pupil numbers have fluctuated slighly, and all previous
planning forecast have underestimated the number of pupils.
The steep downward trend which is being used to justify the
LEA plans only exists in the future forecasets, not in the
Building Schools for the Future
What does it involve?
BSF is A programme of rebuilding and renewal of secondary
school provision. It is BSF funding that is being sought for
the plan to change Education in Northumberand.
Bids criteria can be:
condition of buildings
“step changes in provision”
BSF Bid and Investment must take all local needs, aspirations,
and social and economic factors into consideration including
close collaboration between schools and LEA’s
The programme will be delivered by “Local Education
Partnerships” which will be 10% LEA, 10% PfS, 80% Private
Sector Partner. There is a large element of Private Sector
involvement in the BSF programmes.
Do Middle Schools Qualify for
“I can confirm that there are no plans on the part
of the Department to phase out middle schools, as a matter
of national policy, or to make our funding of particular programmes,
including "Building schools for the Future", in
any way dependent on that sort of reorganisation.”
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and
Skills (Mr. Stephen Twigg)
Who are NEAG
Northumberland Education Action Group
There are 15 Schools Partnership areas in Northumberland,
and local action groups in all of them are very active in
wanting proper consultation over the reorganisation.
The Action Groups are pooling their resources and skills to
ensure that all the details of all possible options are examined
before decisions are taken.
NEAG wants to debate the issues fully, with full information
to suggest other options, and variations that may suit Northumberland
To ensure the best for the future children of Northumberland.
NEAG has pulled together a very wide pool of people with a
lot of skills which include
What have we achieved so far?
The debate about schools reorganisation is now out in the
The option for Middle Schools is back on the agenda
Many more Councillors are now taking an active part in the
“Questions have been asked in the House”
What do we want you to do?
Be aware that this issue affects all of us, young, old, with
and without children. Any change in the education system is
going to affect everyone in Northumberland, and their futures.
Ask your elected representatives what their opinions are.
Do they fully understand the implications, and are they taking
a proper part in the debate
Help us with your time, your energy and your money, please.
We are all volunteers, and are fighting a campaign against
the County Council which is funded by yours and our tax money!
We need resources to put our point of view across. Please
consider joining your local action group, and/or making a
donation to our fighting fund.
All donations can be made by sending a cheque to
NEAG, C/o Lloyds Bank, Priestpopple, Hexham
or paid in directly at any branch of Lloyds bank using sort
code 30-94-19 and A/c 01014824