`What took you so long to help out?'

Governors at a school threatened with closure are accusing politicians from a range of parties of using their children as a political football.

Governors at a school threatened with closure are accusing politicians from a range of parties of using their children as a political football.

Gateshead Council wants to close Tyne View Primary School in Teams as part of a plan to cut surplus places in the town's primary schools.

Parents have fought to keep the school open and chairman of governors Margaret Duddin has issued a statement criticising politicians for allegedly using the closure fight for their own ends.

Her statement comes before a vital meeting where parents will get the chance to put their case to an independent schools adjudicator, who will have the final say on Tyne View. She said: "Members of the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Respect Party, BNP and the Socialist Party are now showing a remarkable interest in Tyne View School.

"My question is, `Where were they when we needed their help during our campaign'?"

The future of the school was a key issue in a by-election held this week for a vacant seat in the Dunston and Teams ward. The seat was won by Labour's Pauline Dillon, but candidates from a number of other parties used the school's predicament in their campaign literature.

Tyne View is one of four schools earmarked to close under plans to cut Gateshead's surplus primary places.

But while the other three closures are going through, parents at Tyne View have objected and are trying to save the school. Tyne View's fate is now in the hands of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator after Gateshead's schools organisation committee could not agree on the closure plans.

The adjudicator is holding a meeting at the school on Tuesday to hear parents' views.

Saira Munro, whose daughter Kaitlin, seven, is a pupil at Tyne View, has been campaigning to save the school. She said: "We were surprised that the adjudicator is going to listen to us. I don't know how much difference it will make, but we're hopeful.

"We're going to try and get the local political parties to come along as well and we'll be putting our point forward as strongly as possible."

Parents at Tyne View say consideration should be given to a merger with Windmill Hills Primary, one of the other schools earmarked for closure. A merger had previously been ruled out because there was insufficient room to expand Tyne View, but the demolition of the Redheugh Boys Club on the site has now made space available for extra classrooms.

* Four new schools in the North have been given planning permission.

Newcastle City Council's development control panel yesterday gave permission for new buildings to replace Kenton School, Walbottle Campus and Stocksfield Avenue Primary School, in Fenham.

The panel also agreed on the final details of the Excelsior Academy in Scotswood, which is being built to replace West Gate Community College, in the city's west end.

Kenton and Walbottle are two of the city's largest schools and will get complete rebuilds to replace ageing facilities.


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