The council is looking to create a sustainable future for the area’s schools ahead of a £40 million investment to improve facilities.
Recent years have seen declining pupil numbers and a high proportion of surplus places, as pupils leave the partnership for neighbouring schools in Alnwick and Scotland.
The issue was discussed at last week’s meeting of the council’s family and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee, where plans to move forward with the consultation were welcomed. However, it was down to the cabinet to rubber-stamp the decision at a meeting on Tuesday.
Speaking there, education cabinet member Coun Guy Renner Thompson said: “This is the next stage in our exciting investment in Berwick. We have had years of consultation going back to 2018 when this administration first said we wanted to rebuild Berwick Academy.”
Under the new model proposed by the council and supported by a majority of schools, the partnership’s first schools would expand their age range up to 11 to become primary schools from September 2025, and Berwick Academy would become an age 11 to 18 secondary academy from September 2026.
Berwick Middle School, Glendale Middle School and Tweedmouth Community Middle School would close on August 31, 2026.
The recommendations include that Belford Primary School moves from the Berwick Partnership catchment to the greater Alnwick Partnership from September 2024.
Specialist provision would also be expanded with 70 new places created across the partnership for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) specifically for those with primary needs in Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Autism where there is a growing need.
Council leader Glen Sanderson added: “We will never please everyone, but what this is about is bringing about in Berwick an improvement in school provisions that will allow every young person the chance to get a first-class education.
“I think this will achieve that.”
A four-week consultation will now run, with a further report to cabinet with the findings of the consultation and a final recommendation expected in July.
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