Amble Head welcomes schools investment

Posted on 22nd November 2022 | in Community , James Calvert Spence College - Acklington Rd , James Calvert Spence College - South Avenue

A new £25.7 million building for Amble’s high school will be of huge benefit to the town, according to its headteacher.

Executive Head of JCSC, Neil Rodgers 

Last week Northumberland County Council’s cabinet gave final approval for schools in the Coquet partnership to switch to a two-tier model.|

The decision on the future of education in the area meant the council could release almost £40 million of funding pledged to schools in the area as part of the schools improvement programme.

It followed overwhelming support for the switch from parents and stakeholders. The news was also welcomed by Amble West with Warkworth councillor Jeff Watson, who was pleased the school would bring much-needed sports facilities to the town.

The executive headteacher of James Calvert Spence College – which is set to receive the bulk of the funding to replace its buildings – has welcomed the news, which follows the school receiving a good Ofsted grade.

Neil Rodgers said: “A new secondary school for James Calvert Spence College will be transformational for the people of Amble and the surrounding area.

James Calvert Spence College, Acklington Rd

“The preferred model for the development situates the new buildings in a more central location whilst retaining all of the existing land that the current upper school site occupies, using it to provide much needed upgraded sports and recreational facilities for our students and wider community.

“We will work closely with the team at Northumberland County Council to ensure the school will be specifically designed to suit the needs of our pupils with modern classrooms, workshops and laboratories alongside upgraded sixth form facilities. This excellent and long-awaited news, alongside our recently awarded good Ofsted grade, will ensure all pupils in the Coquet partnership receive the very best secondary education for many years to come.”

James Calvert Spence College, South Avenue

The switch to two-tier has proved controversial in other parts of Northumberland, but the majority of parents in the Coquet partnership backed the plans. It means the area’s first schools will be expanded into primary schools from September 2024, while JCSC will have its age range reduced from the current 9-18 school to an 11-18 secondary school with effect from September 2025.

Mr Rodgers said there were benefits of both systems, but encouraged cooperation between schools. He added: “The change to a two-tier system has its pros and cons. A two-tier system does allow a consistent entry point at the end of Key Stage 2, rather than in the middle of the key stage.

“We will of course be extremely sad to lose our youngest year groups and the enhanced facilities and experiences we are able to offer them. However, all schools in the partnership are determined to work together to ensure the very best outcomes for our community.”

James Robinson
Local Democracy Reporter

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