Northumberland County Council and Hadrian Learning Trust

The situation regarding the possible school changes in West Northumberland is now further complicated by the fact that there are two ongoing consultations:


  • The first is Northumberland County Council’s proposal to replace the current system with one of three proposed alternatives, all of which involve the closure of Whitley Chapel School. This consultation ends on April 9th.


  • The second is the Hadrian Learning Trust’s (HLT’s) proposal to merge Hexham Middle School with the Queen Elizabeth High School to form a single 11-18 secondary school, which would effectively force the rest of the Hexham School system to become 2-tier, leading to the closure of many of our rural first schools and all of Hexham’s middle schools. This consultation ends on March 29th. (HLT is an academy and the local council has no power to prevent them from doing this).


  • The two consultations are separate, how one affects the other is currently unclear, and for the purpose of trying to protect our school, we must respond to them separately.


The next phase (before we respond to the consultations themselves) involves sending emails to local MPs and other influential figures to let them know our opinions of the two consultations. It is very important that as many people do this as possible.


Responses can be based upon the attached documents, by adding your own details and rewording, expanding, and/or rearranging the suggested text. We suggest that you cut and paste the text into your email, before modifying it. The two letters are as follows:


(1)   Letter to Janet Renou. She is the Regional Schools commissioner and could potentially stop the Hadrian Learning Trust from forming a secondary ‘superschool’ in Hexham. The letter highlights the potential adverse effects of the alteration of our school system, and also why the current system works so well for our unique area. Please email this letter to


(2)  A general letter responding the Northumberland County Council’s consultation. The letter highlights the potential adverse effects of the closure of Whitley Chapel School, and why it should stay open. Please email this letter to all of the following:


Andy Johnson - Interim Director of Children’s Services

Cllr Wayne Daley - NCC Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Children's Services

Cllr Trevor Cessford - Hexham Central with Acomb; member of Family and Children’s Service OSC

Cllr Anne Dale - Broomhaugh, Stocksfield and Mickley

Cllr Cath Homer - Hexham East; member of NCC Cabinet

Cllr Colin Horncastle - South Tynedale; member of Family and Children’s Service OSC

Cllr Derek Kennedy - Hexham West

Cllr Nick Oliver - Corbridge; member of NCC Cabinet

Paul Rickeard, Diocesan Director of Education, C of E Diocese ofNewcastle

Colin Tapping, Editor of the Hexham Courant

NCC - generic consultation response