Struggling Sunderland schools set to merge in bid to improve standards

Hylton Red House Primary School
Hylton Red House Primary School
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TWO schools on Wearside could be closed and combined in a move that will benefit pupils and improve standards.

The potential integration of Hylton Red House Primary and Bishop Harland Primary, both of which have previously received mixed reports from Ofsted, were discussed by council bosses this week.

One option debated was reopening both of them as a new Church of England voluntary-aided school on the site of Hylton Red House.

In 2008, Hylton was placed into special measures by Ofsted after they deemed it was failing to give the pupils an acceptable standard of education.

The standard was improved and the school was rated as good in June 2010.

In September 2010, Bishop Harland was judged to be making inadequate progress on the 2009 report, which had rated the school as satisfactory, and as a result they struggled to appoint a substantive head teacher.

Since then the headteacher of Hylton has been responsible for both schools and they have formed what the council referred to as a “soft federation”.

Together the schools are 164 places down on their maximum capacity, which is a surplus of 25 per cent, meaning they are also facing challenges to their budgets.

The likely timetable proposed by Sunderland City Council would see a four-week consultation period taking place in September followed by draft proposals and then a decision by December.

The initial consultation period will include staff, parents, pupils, the wider community, unions, governing bodies and Dioceses.

If the plan to join both schools goes ahead, a capital investment will be needed to bring the Hylton Red House site up to a suitable standard.

Coun Pat Smith, portfolio holder for children’s services, Sunderland City Council, said: “Wednesday’s Cabinet report set out how the council is looking to community-wide consultation about possible futures for Bishop Harland CE and Hylton Red House Primary School.”

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