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The future of South Shields School

Cabinet decision

At their meeting on Wednesday 23 January 2019, Cabinet agreed the following:

The local authority to cease to maintain South Shields School with effect from 31 August 2020, with the closure phased as follows:

September 2018 to July 2019:

No changes - Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 to continue at South Shields School

September 2019 to July 2020:

No year 7

Years 8, 9, 11 remain at South Shields School

Year 10 pupils allocated to receiving schools to begin GCSE courses for September 2019

School closed from 31 August 2020:

Years 9 and 10 allocated to receiving schools for entry in September 2020

Next steps

Once the minutes of Cabinet's meeting are published, the decision is subject to a 5 day 'call in' by the Council's scrutiny committee, therefore no action will be taken to begin implementation of the decision until 1 February 2019, at the earliest. After the 'call in' period, parents/carers will be invited to meetings, to support and advise on the transition of pupils to their new schools. 

The cabinet report and background papers can be accessed below.

Cabinet report 23 January 2019 and background papers

Cabinet report – 23 January 2019442.37KB

Appendix 1 - Statutory Notice and Statutory proposal for the closure of South Shields School

Appendix 2 - Cabinet report - 12 September 2018

Cabinet report - 12 September 2018366.69KB

Appendix 3 - Cabinet report - 13 November 2018

Cabinet report - Statutory Consultation Process - South Shields School167.75KB

Appendix 4 - Information and response forms from informal consultation, including pupil projections

Consultation document268.25KB
Pupil forecasts16.65KB
Response form256.01KB

Appendix 5 - Notes from consultation meetings and written responses from informal consultation

Boldon School and Mortimer Community College drop in sessions74.18KB
Parents consultation - Years 7, 8 and 9150.68KB
Parents consultation - Years 10 and 11160.21KB
Collated responses5.47MB
Governing Board response258.14KB
NASUWT response104.15KB

Unison response179.76KB

Appendix 6 - Options appraisal following informal consultation

South Shields Viability Issues and Options226.98KB

Appendix 7 - Statutory Representations received

Appendix 7 - Responses received during representation period228.67KB

Appendix 8 - Petitions received

L Habbershaw: 

Petition (1)5.82MB
Petition (2)5.75MB
Petition (3)2.37MB
Petition (4)5.77MB
Petition (5)2.56MB 

Petition (

Appendix 9Department for Education: Schedule 2 of the School Organisation (Establishment and Discontinuance) Regulations 2013 Statutory Guidance

Appendix 10 - Department for Education: Opening and Closing maintained schools: Statutory guidance for proposers and decision makers

Information for students and their parents and carers at South Shields School

There will be no changes made to South Shields School during the upcoming academic year 2018-19.

We understand that this is a difficult time for pupils, parents, carers, staff, governors and all associated with the school. South Tyneside Council is committed to working with parents to minimise the impact of any change.

A dedicated telephone number is in place for all parents and pupils:

0191 424 7847

Background information

South Shields School was opened in 2008 and moved to the new site on Nevison Avenue in 2011.

The school has places for 850 pupils aged 11 - 16. From September 2018 there are 528 pupils on roll. The new school was built under a Private Finance Initiative.

In October 2017 the school was inspected by Ofsted and received an overall judgement of inadequate. In these circumstances, the Regional Schools Commissioner (who works on behalf of the Secretary of State and the Department for Education) must, in law, place a Directive Academy Order upon the school and seek a preferred Sponsor. In these circumstances, as soon as an Academy Sponsor is found, the school becomes an Academy and can no longer be a Council maintained school.

The Directive Academy Order was placed on South Shields School in November 2017.  However, the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) has informed the Council that it has been unable to find a sponsor for the school. As a result of this, the RSC has advised the Council that the Secretary of State may revoke the Academy Order but only on the condition that the Council undertake a statutory consultation to close the school.

The Council is prevented from maintaining the school in these circumstances. Therefore the Council's Cabinet agreed on 5 September 2018 to consult on closure, as required by the Secretary of State, to revoke the Academy Order.

There are many reasons why the RSC may have been unable to find a sponsor for South Shields School, but the main concern for potential sponsors is around the viability of the school because of existing and projected low pupil numbers. These are 528 in September 2018 - the lowest since the school opened in 2008 - against a capacity of 850.

Based upon current admission patterns these numbers are predicted to fall further in future years. Funding for schools is based almost exclusively on pupil numbers, so if numbers continue to fall as predicted this will present significant financial difficulties for the school. When schools are in this position it becomes difficult to run the school and to offer a full curriculum.

As a result of no sponsor being found for South Shields School, the Department for Education requires South Tyneside Council to undertake a statutory consultation on the potential closure of the school.


If a future decision is made to close the school, the Council is committed to supporting pupils, staff, parents and carers to make transition as smooth as possible and to ensure that quality of education is maintained. It is proposed that a phased closure would take place over two years:

  • Pupils in current years 10 and 11 would complete their secondary education at South Shields School
  • 2018/19 - No changes to the school in any year group
  • 2019/20 - No year 7 pupils would be admitted and current year 9 pupils would transfer to a new school for GCSE years
  • 2020/21 - Current years 7 and 8 to transfer to new schools

The table below shows the effect of phased closure on each year group:

Year group2018/192019/202020/21
Year 7No change (current year 7)N/AN/A
Year 8No change (current year 8)No change (current year 7)N/A
Year 9No change (current year 9)No change (current year 8)New school (current year 7)
Year 10No change (current year 10)New school (current year 9)New school (current year 8)
Year 11No changeNo change (current year 10)N/A

If the decision is made to close the school it would close on 31 August 2020.


There are a number of secondary schools within South Tyneside which have places in the relevant year groups to which pupils could be admitted. Mortimer Community College and Boldon School have sufficient places to accommodate all pupils from South Shields School and already have some commonality in their catchment areas.

20 September 2018Consultation starts
2 November 2018First round of consultation ends
13 November 2018Expected meeting of South Tyneside Council's Cabinet
21 November 2018Expected start of representation period, if agreed
19 December 2018Expected end of representation period, if agreed
23 January 2019Cabinet to make final decision on the future of the school

Pupil forecasts 

Information about pupil forecasts is available at South Tyneside pupil forecasts 2018-202516.2KB.

Frequently asked questions

For more information view the Frequently asked questions about the future of South Shields School.

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