Parents will be consulted on a possible change to a two-tier school system at Berwick

Parents in the Berwick area could be consulted on a change to a two-tier education system – if plans to do so are approved by Northumberland County Council Cabinet.

At Thursday’s meeting of the council’s Family and Children’s Services Oversight and Review Committee, members were told that the Berwick Schools Partnership faces significant challenges in terms of sustainability .

Berwick Academy – the area’s high school – was rated as ‘in need of improvement’ by Ofsted in November, having been found to be inadequate, when there are plans to have 128 free places in the partnership at the during the single year of hosting by 2025.

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A number of options were offered to schools, but the only one supported by a majority of schools was a change to a two-tier system, removing colleges from the area. Nine schools were in favor of the option, while four were against and three were undecided.

It comes as the council plans to invest millions of pounds to improve education in the area.

Would you support a move to a two-tier system in the Berwick area? Let us know in the comments below.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, director of adult and children’s services for the council, said: “There is a significant amount of investment planned for the Berwick partnership, with a significant amount of work being undertaken.

“This is not a process led by local authorities, we are saying this is the system we want to achieve. This is a unique opportunity to influence the education system in Berwick, not only in Berwick but in the surrounding area .

“The reason this has been carefully considered is that we want to make sure that we fully understand our children, our parents and our caregivers and what they really want.

“We’ll never get a homogenous idea, but this is an opportunity to take a careful and thoughtful approach.”

The report will be presented to the council office on Tuesday, before parents are consulted on the plans.

Jeremy S. McLain