Proposed closure of Branton Schools
Some important news has just come to our attention.
Consultation report recommends closure
A report on the consultation on the Alnwick Partnership has put forward the proposal to close Branton Schools (Branton Community First School and Breamish Valley Community Nursery) as of August 2017. At this stage, however, this is a proposal and not a final decision.
If you feel strongly that the schools should remain open then…
As much support as possible needs to be gathered in the coming week in the run up to a Scrutiny Committee meeting and a Cabinet meeting; both are scheduled for Thursday 18 June 2015. Now, it needs to be demonstrated that not only is there support for the schools remaining open but also that there is an alternative to the proposed closure.
The following need to be demonstrated:
Branton Schools are still here because of huge community support. A previous proposed closure was fought as recently as 2012 but the schools remain because of the support received from the community.
Primary education can be provided at Branton and the schools can work with other schools in the area to ensure this is constantly of a high quality and relevant to our community.
The schools are well equipped to support pupils with additional needs, owing to their peaceful location, ease of access and good adult-to-pupil ratios.
The schools are unique in that they adjoin a nature conservation area. Consequently, it is proposed that this is developed as an educational resource for the wider community, while still retaining ongoing educational provision for our local community at Branton.
Benefits of local provision
The above set out just some of the benefits of what an engaged, proactive local provision can deliver.
Peaceful location helps children with additional needs
The unique location of Branton Schools within the Breamish Valley can credibly provide support to potentially vulnerable children who have additional educational needs. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that being within nature on a daily basis improves memory, enhances our health, increases sociability and significantly improves our sense of well-being. In a fast-paced, stressful and potentially divisive modern Britain, if these benefits can be provided for our children it seems worthy of careful consideration. Certainly, the proposal to utilise the schools’ unique location to develop educational resources for the wider community within the County, whilst maintaining ongoing educational provision for local children, is commendable. So…
What can I do?
If you feel strongly that our community schools should remain open then, as a matter of urgency this week, please consider the following actions.
Write to the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Bernard Pidcock: email Bernard.firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to the Chair of the Education Cabinet, Robert Arkless: email Robert.email@example.com
If you are willing and able, please attend the Open Meeting on Thursday 18 June 2015. The Scrutiny Committee meets at 10.30am and the Cabinet Meeting is at 2.30pm, both at County Hall, Morpeth NE61 2EF (directions here).
In sum, there needs to be enough of an argument to stop the proposals going forward to consultation as they are.
What else is being done?
Parents of school pupils have set up an online petition. You can sign it here:
- Parents are creating a Facebook page with the aim of getting as many support ‘likes’ as possible. Details to follow.
- Parents have asked the Northumberland Gazette to do a piece this week and Jane Coltman is going to the schools tomorrow morning (15 June 2015).