The bell tolled for the last time yesterday at a Northumberland school as it closed its doors forever.
Allendale Middle School welcomed children for their final day after Northumberland County Council decided earlier this year it should close.
There was a mixture of sadness and anger in the air as pupils, staff and parents past and present, took part in a day of special activities with members of the community.
Outdoor activities were held for the children in the morning and there was a leavers’ assembly for the whole school.
There later followed a hog roast buffet lunch and a ceilidh.
A few days previously the whole school had got together for one final time to pose for the picture above. Headteacher Sue Hickey said: “We are going out with a bang.
“People are very sad, it is a very sad day for all the pupils, parents and of course all the staff who fought to keep the school open.
“Particularly poignant is we have had parents who have had children through this school 13 years.
“For them it is definitely the end of an era.
“They all recognise staff have continued with dignity and professionalism to deliver education to their children right to the end.”
Mrs Hickey said “very few” staff had managed to find jobs, and added she had yet to secure a new role, although she will not be working for the county council again.
“It is really disgraceful because they should be teaching children.
“Ofsted have recognised they are good and outstanding teachers so it is a shame.”
The headteacher said Ofsted inspectors had, since the proposal to close the school was announced, found it to be making satisfactory progress at every subsequent visit.
Mrs Hickey claimed a further visit was cancelled after the decision to close was taken.
“It is just a shame that we have not been allowed the time to prove what we always knew – that Allendale is a very good school.
“We are doing all the right things.”
Mrs Hickey’s views were endorsed by Marc Hydleman, who led the fight to keep the school open.
Mr Hydleman, a former supply teacher at the school whose two children were pupils there, said: “It is a very sad day.
“It is all very depressing really and I just think the staff ought to be congratulated for staying so professional in such trying times.
“They are a credit to their profession really.”
The county council took the decision to close the school in June after a poor Ofsted report, following which it was placed in special measures.
Other schools in the Allendale area are being reorganised to compensate for the closure.