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Statutory proposal for the closure of South Shields School

1. Contact details

Name and address of Local Authority publishing the proposal:

South Tyneside Council, Town Hall & Civic Offices, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL

Name, address and category of school proposed to be discontinued:

South Shields School, Nevinson Avenue, South Shields, NE348BT (Community School)

2. Implementation

Date on which it is proposed to close the school :31 August 2020

 It is proposed to phase closure as follows:

  • 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

Parents of current Year 9 pupils will be invited to express a preference for an alternative school for September 2019 and parents of current Years 7 & 8 will be invited to express a preference for an alternative school for September 2020.

3. Reason for closure

Following an inadequate Ofsted inspection in October 2017, the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), who works on behalf of the Secretary of State and the Department for Education, placed a Directive Academy Order upon the school. In order to continue, the school must be sponsored by a multi academy trust in accordance with legislation. RSC was unable to find a sponsor for the school and 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. In gathering information to identify a sponsor, the RSC sought information about the viability of the school in relation to pupil numbers, and future financial sustainability. Current projections for the South Shields School catchment area to 2024/5 do not indicate any future demographic growth. Schools in the surrounding areas also have surplus places. Based on current and projected pupil numbers the future viability of the school remains unchanged from when RSC sought a sponsor. Therefore the local authority is duty bound to propose closure of the school. A six week period of public consultation, including meetings with staff, governors, and parents, along with other interested parties has been undertaken from 20 September 2018 to 2 November 2018.

4. Pupil numbers and admissions

The numbers for whom provision is currently made at the school:

The school is a co-educational mainstream community school for pupils aged 11 to 16.  The school has a Published Admission Number (PAN) of 170 for each year group, giving a total of 850 places.  As at 5 November 2018 the school has 468 pupils on roll. 

The school does not provide educational provision recognised by the local authority as being reserved for children with special educational needs.  There are 127 pupils on roll (provisional October census) who have been identified as having special educational needs, of which there are 2 pupils with an Education Health and Care Plan.

5. Displaced pupils

There are currently 468 pupils on roll: 65 in Year 7, 61 in Year 8, 105 in Year 9, 129 in Year 10 and 108 in Year 11 (6 November 2018).

Provision is available at the nearest schools to South Shields School, with available places, Mortimer Community School and Boldon School, to accommodate all displaced pupils. During the informal consultation it was indicated that some families may have preferences for other local schools and may live closer to other schools. Some schools in the surrounding areas have vacancies in some year groups and the local authority will endeavour to meet parental preferences for school places where that is possible

Current projections for school places indicate there are sufficient places for future cohorts following closure of the school. The local authority will monitor the projected need for future school places and propose changes if required to ensure sufficient places are available.

6. Impact on the community

The school provides community use of its facilities outside of school hours on Mondays (5pm to 6pm) for Karate and on Thursdays (6pm to 7pm) for Football.  The PFI facilities management company also provides access to the school for Adult and Youth Football between 9.00am and 12.30pm on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Suitable alternative facilities are available at various nearby locations e.g. Temple Park Leisure Centre and Chuter Ede School

In addition to after-school activities organised by the school for its own pupils, a Sea Cadet activity is delivered for pupils attending the school. This could be delivered at alternative schools pupil may attend.     

7. Rural Primary Schools

Not applicable

8. Balance of denominational provision

The school does not have a denominational status.  The proposed closure will not affect the number of secondary schools within South Tyneside with denominational status. 

There will continue to be 3 schools with denominational status (1 Church of England academy and 2 Roman Catholic academies).  

The number of non-denominational secondary schools will reduce by 1.  

9. Maintained nursery schools

Not applicable

10. Sixth form provision

Not applicable

11. Special educational needs provision

The school has no provision reserved for children with special educational needs. There are 2 pupils on roll with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) (provisional October census).

12. Travel

Distance for home to school travel for pupils in Years 7, 8 & 9 currently attending the school ranges from 0.16 to 5.87 miles.  

The table below shows the difference in travel for Years 7, 8 & 9 to either Boldon or Mortimer Schools, whichever is the nearest to their home address:

Difference in travel from home to nearest of either Boldon or Mortimer Schools

Difference in travel

Number of Y7, 8 & 9 pupils

% of Y7, 8 & 9 pupils

Shorter travel

112

48%

Up to 1/2 mile more

66

29%

Between 1/2-1 mile more

46

20%

Between 1-11/2 mile  more

7

3%

Between 11/2 and 2 miles more

0

0%

Between 2 and 21/2 miles more

0

0%

Between 21/2 and 3 miles more

0

0%

Over 3 miles

0

0%

Total pupils

231

 

Any increase in the use of motor vehicles/traffic

As the table shows, 48% of pupils live closer to either Boldon or Mortimer Schools which are the nearest alternative schools, with available places, to South Shields School, 29% of pupils will have an increase in travel of up to half a mile and 20% will have increased travel between half and one mile. 3% of pupils will have increased travel of over one mile, with the furthest increase being 1.2 miles. It is anticipated that pupils will walk, cycle or use public transport to travel to the alternative schools and therefore any impact on road traffic would be minimal. There is also sufficient local transport provision to cover the routes from home to school of current pupils.

It is recognised that as some displaced pupils will need to make new journeys to school and some pupils may have further to travel, a review of the positioning of school crossing patrols will be carried out with a view to relocating patrol points if necessary.

Eligibility for support with home to school transport will be determined in line with the local authority's home to school transport policy, which can be accessed via this link: Help with school and college transport

13. Procedure for making representations (objections and comments)

Within four weeks from the date of publication of this proposal any person may object to or make comments on the proposal by:

Email:  southshieldsconsultation@southtyneside.gov.uk

Post:   South Shields Consultation, South Tyneside Council, Town Hall and Civic Offices, South Shields, NE33 2RL

Closing date for responses is Wednesday 19 December at midnight.

We will not be able to consider any responses received after this date

All responses received during the representation period will be published on the Council's website in mid-January 2019. The website address is: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/southshieldsschool.

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