eglingham first school
Head fears for school’s future
A HEADTEACHER in Northumberland fears her rural school could face closure in the next five years due to changes in funding.
The Government is introducing a new system to allocate money to schools based on how many pupils they have.
However, Ruth Bull, head at Glendale Middle School in Wooler, says the plans do not take into account the size of some schools, particularly in rural areas.
She said: “We inherited our buildings from an old secondary modern, which means we have wonderful facilities but have a very large site to maintain.
“We used to get funding allocated to us for the building and grounds, but this will be cut by £85,000 and our total budget will be cut by £125,000.
“The only way to make up the difference is to find another 28 pupils, but how are we supposed to do that in Wooler? Our catchment area is already 200 square miles. It worries me intensely. The Government seems to have no concept in how rural schools operate and don’t appreciate the lifeline we provide to our communities.”
Mrs Bull said: “I know the local authority is in a difficult position because the changes are being imposed by the Government, but all we’ve been told is to look for ‘local solutions’,” she said.
Glendale Middle has 134 pupils and employs 27 staff.
A spokesman for Northumberland County Council said: “The county council will work with schools that may lose significant amounts of money to help them come up with appropriate solutions to preserve education within their communities.”