Guide Post Middle School set to close following Ofsted visit

A school in Northumberland which was found to be failing by Ofsted looks set to close

Children from Guide Post Middle School
Children from Guide Post Middle School

A Northumberland school which was one of several found to be failing following an emergency Ofsted inspection looks set to close.

Guide Post Middle School was recently placed into special measures after being one of 17 in the county visited by inspectors amid concerns over standards of education in Northumberland.

Now, it looks set to shut its doors for good after local education authority Northumberland County Council agreed to carry out consultation on its closure.

Meanwhile, another middle school in Northumberland looks set to relocate to the site of a high school.

Guide Post was visited by Ofsted as part of its ‘focused’ inspection in October.

Inspectors found the school to be ‘inadequate’ and placed it into the ‘special measures’ - meaning leadership “have not demonstrated the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school that would remove it from the special measures category.”

Under government policy, schools placed in ‘special measures’ must either close or become academies.

County council officers produced a report to the authority’s policy board recommending statutory consultation begin on the closure of the school from August next year.

The proposal forms part of a partial reorganisation of the Bedlington partnership of schools which would see Guide Post’s three feeder first schools become primaries, retaining pupils until they are 11 rather than the current nine.

At the board meeting yesterday, members agreed to support their officers’ recommendation.

Coun Bernard Pidcock, chairman of the authority’s family and children’s services overview and scrutiny committee - which considered the proposals last week, had told board members he found Guide Post “a most warm, welcome, absolutely super super school” when visiting.

He said his committee had wanted a third option explored - to “resurrect from the ashes” the school in the hope that its fortunes improve.

In a statement after the meeting, Coun Robert Arckless, policy board member for children’s services, said: “I understand why people are concerned but this is statutory consultation which the council has decided to initiate as a direct result of the recent Ofsted inspection.

“When a school is placed in this category by Ofsted the options the government gives us are very limited.”

Meanwhile, councillors also agreed to begin consultation on plans to relocate Whytrig Middle School at Seaton Delaval to the site of Astley High School.

Members were told the request had come from the governing body of the Seaton Valley Federation of Schools of which the two - which share a headteacher - are a part.

Coun Arckless’s statement added: “This proposal allows the two schools to come together and lets the children have access to better facilities and a better learning environment.

“There’s less than two miles between the two schools and there is a lot of support for this locally.”

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