Closed 12 Aug 2022

Opened 23 May 2022


Northumberland County Council has committed £39.9m towards the replacement and refurbishment of school buildings in the Berwick Partnership.  However, before carrying out the works to school buildings, the Council needs to know that it is investing in a school structure that will deliver consistently good outcomes for all children and young people and that it is sustainable now and for the future generations to come. 

Schools in the Berwick Partnership are facing some specific issues.  In early 2021, Council officers began talking to Headteachers and school Chairs of Governors about how schools could be organised in order to overcome these issues and a number of ‘models’ of organisation were reviewed and assessed - a summary of these discussions and their outcomes is set out in this document.  The key conclusion of these discussions was that before any detailed proposals for individual schools linked to the buildings funding could be brought forward, the views of parents, staff, governors, pupils, the wider public and anyone with an interest in education in the Berwick Partnership area needed to be gathered on the general principle of whether schools should be organised within the current 3-tier (first/middle/high) structure or within the 2-tier (primary/secondary) structure.  Once this principle is established, more detailed proposals for individual schools can be brought forward. 

This consultation document sets out those key issues faced by schools in the partnership, an overview of the current structure and the 2-tier structure at a Northumberland and national level, and data and information about pupil numbers and performance of schools.  As a result, I’m afraid this is a long document.  However, we believe it's really important that you are provided with the information that you need to be able to form your views before you respond to this consultation.  You should also bear in mind that this consultation is not a referendum and any decision about the structure of schools will be based on the quality of the educational rationale, not on the number of responses for one structure or another.  So, as well as asking for your thoughts about the 3-tier and 2-tier school structures, we are also asking if you have any alternative suggestions that you think could address the issues raised in this document that would secure a viable school system in the Berwick Partnership for the children and young people living in this area. 

We are also running two public events in the coming Summer Term (details later in this document) where you will be able to ask further questions from schools and Council officers – hopefully you will be able to attend one of them.  I really hope that you will take the time and opportunity to submit your views and I look forward to hopefully meeting you in July. 


Audrey Kingham  

Interim Executive Director of Children’s Services 

Northumberland County Council  


  • Anyone from any background


  • infrastructure