School bids to cut pupil age range

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A CASH-STRAPPED secondary school wants to slash its age range.

The proposals affect 179 pupils in Years 7 to 10 at Durham Gilesgate Sports College, in Bradford Crescent, and are based on “extremely small pupil numbers” in those year groups.

The proposals would cut the age range from 11 to 19, to 16 to 19.

Durham County Council is carrying out a six-week-long consultation. Letters have been sent to parents.

Staff have been informed and meetings with neighbouring primary and secondary schools will take place.

Headteacher Arthur Raymond said: “We know that parents love the school and were very proud of the successful Ofsted inspection this year, which saw the school graded good with the capacity to improve further.

“However, it is extremely unfortunate that the very low pupil numbers in Years 7 to 10 mean that this part of the school will struggle to remain sustainable in the long term.

“We are therefore having to look at taking the step of changing the age range of the school and we are seeking the views of staff, parents, pupils and others who are affected by these proposals.”

Caroline O’Neill, head of education at the council, said: “There are currently less than 300 pupils in Years 7 to 11 at Durham Gilesgate, and as a result the school is facing a significant budget deficit.

“Numbers are predicted to continue to fall in the short and medium term, and this is a situation which must be addressed.

“We are committed to working with families and other schools, to ensure that any changes which may be agreed following this consultation would have a minimal impact on pupils’ education.”