Pupils fight to save Guide Post Middle School near Ashington

Ten-year-olds Hannah Doncaster and Daisey Wilson have added their calls to save the school in Northumberland

Daisy Wilson (left) and Hannah Doncaster
Daisy Wilson (left) and Hannah Doncaster

Friends at a Northumberland school which is facing closure have taken up the fight to keep it open.

Ten-year-olds Hannah Doncaster and Daisey Wilson are both pupils at Guide Post Middle School, near Ashington, which has been earmarked for closure by Northumberland County Council following a damning Ofsted report.

Parents have already formed an action group in a bid to save their school. Now, the girls have joined the battle by firing off letters to Ofsted and also The Journal.

The school was one of 17 in Northumberland visited by Ofsted in October amid concerns over standards of education in the county. Inspectors found the site to be “inadequate”, placing it in special measures and criticising its leadership.

Under Government policy, schools placed in this category 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.

Guide Post Middle School
Guide Post Middle School
 

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.

The Save Guide Post Middle School from Closure action group has set up petitions, including one on the council’s website, which have over 700 signatures, and a Facebook group which hundreds of people have joined.

Now, Hannah and Daisey, year six pupils, have added their calls. Their letter to us states: “We absolutely love our school and would just like to mention we have not been asked to do this by anyone, no parents, no teachers, this is all just coming from our hearts.

“When we heard that our school was at risk of closing we were very upset and can’t stress how much we are trying to hold onto our school.

“First of all Ofsted came in for only two days - you cannot judge a school in that amount of time, but then to call it ‘inadequate’ is disgusting and we know Guide Post is not inadequate. We and the rest of year six will be doing SATs this year.

“They can’t expect us to get our targeted levels and do well with all of this stress from pupils talking about moving schools and leaving newly made friends.

“Also there are many children who already take buses to school as their school may be a distance from them but now there will be another big sum of children getting on buses and it is a bad safety hazard.

“We would just like to put across that the children should have a say because it’s our lives that will be affected by all of this.”

Last night, Hannah told The Journal: “It is a really good school, I absolutely love it. It would be really sad to see it close because they have helped me and they help lots of pupils every day. I feel like I am doing really well in my work.”

Hannah’s shop owning mum Annette Doncaster, 47, of Ashington Drive, Stakeford, said she was “proud and surprised that she has taken it upon herself to do this.”

She added: “I did not ask her to do it and the school did not ask her to do it. She just went ahead and did it, that is what I am proud of.”

The council last night reissued a previous statement explaining that its options following the Ofsted inpection are limited.

In it, Coun Robert Arckless, policy board member for children’s services, said: “I understand why people are concerned but this is statutory consultation 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. There’s been no final decision but we are currently in a period of formal consultation with local people so that everyone can have their say.”

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