PARENTS from three villages are celebrating after education bosses agreed their children should be given priority to attend a popular school when its new £24m campus opens next week.
Durham County Council’s cabinet yesterday agreed that children from Shincliffe, Bowburn and Parkhill near Coxhoe should continue to attend Durham Johnston School even though it is no longer the secondary school nearest to their homes.
By doing so they made an exception to their own admissions policy stating that children should attend the nearest available secondary school.
Durham Johnston is moving to a single site at Crossgate Moor from dual sites at Whinney Hill and Crossgate Moor, two miles apart. When the entire school moves it will no longer be the nearest available school for children living in the three villages. That will be Gilesgate Sports College.
But Claire Vasey, the county council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, whilst acknowledging that the subject was “a very controversial issue,” recommended that Shincliffe and Bowburn Primary Schools should continue to act as “feeder schools” to Durham Johnston. The other feeder primary schools are in Brandon, Neville’s Cross and Langley Moor.
After the meeting one parent, Neville Hallam, from High Shincliffe, Durham, said: “The council reached the correct decision. Bowburn and Shincliffe schools will continue to act as feeders to Durham Johnston.”
The new school is to be handed over to Durham County Council this week and students will be in their new classrooms after the Easter break.
As well as smart new classrooms the school has teaching areas and a performance space outside, two cafes, sports and fitness facilities and a large open plan space at the heart of the building.
Headteacher Carolyn Roberts said: “Our lovely building marks the start of a new chapter in our history and will allow us to go from strength to strength.”