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Alston school closure threat

Concerns over falling pupil rolls in schools Credit: PA

A consultation has been launched into proposals for a radical restructure of schools in the Alston area.

The schools affected are Samuel King’s High School and Nenthead and Alston Primary schools. It follows concerns over falling pupil rolls for several years.

Current information indicates pupil numbers will continue to fall with projections showing the combined roll at the primary schools will dip to 98 by January 2018 with Samuel King’s falling to around 75 pupils by this point.

“Clearly, the current situation in Alston is not sustainable given the falling numbers of pupils so we have to look at alternative arrangements."

– Councillor Clare Feeney-Johnson

Cumbria County council is putting forward the following three options for consultation:

  • Option One – closure of Samuel King’s School This would remove secondary education from Alston, but would offer pupils an education in a sustainable school environment with a balanced curriculum in another area. Transport to other secondary schools, under Cumbria County Council’s Home to School Transport Policy, would be available to those who are eligible.
  • Option Two – federation A federation involves a shared leadership structure amongst a number of schools. A single governing body would oversee all schools in the federation and would have the option of operating under a single headteacher. All three existing schools could stay on their individual sites or could be located on a single site. The Alston Moor Federation already exists in the area. The federation involves Alston Primary School and Nenthead Primary School. This option would see the inclusion of Samuel King’s to broaden the federation to include the secondary phase of learning. At this stage the Alston Moor Federation has formally stated its wish not to pursue this option (the county council has no power to bring about a federation; only school governors can bring forward these proposals).
  • Option Three – an all-through school An all-through school option would involve the co-location of Samuel King’s, Alston and Nenthead schools on either the Samuel King’s School, Alston Primary or Nenthead Primary School site. Following initial feasibility studies Samuel King’s site appears most suitabledue to its size. Alterations to the school layout and facilities would be made to accommodate both primary and secondary aged pupils.

The consultation, which runs until 24th October can be responded to by completing a questionnaire – either on paper or online – or by writing to the county council.

The exam results are out for Scottish students - but how did they do?

The wait is over for thousands of students in the region after the Scottish Highers and National qualification exam results were published today.

Nationally, the number of students gaining a C-grade or above in their Highers was 77.1 per cent In the Borders that figure was 80 per cent, while in Dumfries and Galloway had it's best result for Highers for a decade, with a 78.4 per cent pass rate.

Depending on their exams results, pupils will now have to make a choice about what to do when they leave school.

They can choose to go on to higher education, start an apprenticeship or even go straight into work.

Lori Carnochan met two young men who want the same job, but have chosen very different career paths.

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Scottish exam results: Where to go for help

Help is at hand for students picking up their exam results in the South of Scotland today.

If you haven't got the results you wanted - or you want to speak to someone about your future - they should phone their school in the first instance where staff will be on hand to help.

Alternatively, you can also call the Skills Development Scotland's helpline on 0808 100 8000.

This is open from 8am until 8pm on 5 and 6 August and 9am until 5pm on weekdays until 13 August.

The helpline will also be open from 10am until 4pm at weekends.

Ninety percent pass rate for Scottish Borders students

Pupils opening their exam results in the Scottish Borders today have achieved a ninety percent pass rate overall, with high pass rates for both the new National 4 and National 5 qualifications.

Eighty percent of those taking a Higher qualification in the Borders also passed, while nearly 84 percent of Advanced Higher pupils passed.

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Council approve West Cumbrian school closure

Cumbria County Council have today approved the move to close two failing secondary schools in West Cumbria, in favour of replacing them with a single academy.

Southfield Technology College and Stainburn school in Workington will now close in August 2015, delaying the closure from the end of this year.

The proposed new academy will have 1,200 places for school children.

Deputy Prime Minister gets behind Cumbrian education funding

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said he hopes a new fund announced by the Department of Education to help children from disadvantaged families will "help our youngest children get on in life."

It's hoped the new fund will make children better off in their education Credit: PA

He said:

“Every child in Cumbria deserves the chance to fulfil their potential, and this extra funding is a boost to help our youngest children get on in life and succeed.

“Boys and girls from poorer families have often already fallen nineteen months behind their better off classmates by the time they hang up their coat on the first day of school. Increasing their chances of success has got to be a top priority.”

Education boost for Cumbria's youngest children

The Department for Education has today announced that three and four year olds from low income families will benefit from a new £50 million fund aimed at preventing them from falling behind before they have even started school.

Nearly 1,000 children in Cumbria could benefit from the new Early Years Pupil Premium, which is estimated to be worth around £300 per pupil.

This would mean that Cumbria will receive more than £286,000 in additional funding.

Get on on your bike!

Students from three of Carlisle's secondary schools are among the latest to receive specialist cycle safety training.

It's being delievered through Cyclewise, who provide more than 4,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren with training every year

Each of the schools encourage their students to cycle to school, and it's hoped that the training will help keep them safe on their journeys.

"Cycling is really on the up at the moment and we know Bikeability training is really popular with young people in schools."

– Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria County Council
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