Alston Moor is currently facing major challenges with regard to its existing school provision and it is looking highly unlikely that all three schools can continue to operate as they are currently. This is due to a decline in the number of children attending the three Alston Moor schools in recent years, both from the Alston Moor area itself and those choosing to send their children from neighbouring Durham and Northumberland. At Samuel King’s pupil numbers have dropped from 183 in 2004 to 120 this year, while at Alston Primary numbers are now 102, compared to 163 10 years ago and at Nenthead Primary, there are now 22 pupils, compared to 29 in 2004 (see roll number table at the end of this article for pupil numbers over the past 10 years).

alston schoolsThe three options being put forward for consideration are:

1.  The closure of Samuel King’s School

This would remove secondary school provision on Alston Moor, meaning all over 11’s would have to go to secondary schools off the Moor.

2.  Federating the three schools

This would mean a single governing body would oversee all Alston Moor schools. An Alston Moor School Federation already exists between Alston and Nenthead Primary Schools, so this option would see the inclusion of Samuel King’s to broaden the existing 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.

3.  Creating a new single, all-through, school

This option would involve the co-location of Samuel King’s, Alston and Nenthead Primary Schools on one of the existing schools sites. Following initial feasibility studies, Samuel King’s appears to be the most suitable site due to its size. Alterations to the school layout and facilities would be made to accommodate both primary and secondary aged pupils.

This option could consider a number of different layouts of the primary and secondary phases within the school and would allow for areas of integration between the two. It would share best practice and expertise between phases on the same site and allow younger children access to facilities that they would not normally have in a primary setting, as well as providing continuity between the primary and secondary phases. It would have the single governing body of the federation option and would also operate under a single headteacher. This option could allow savings to be made on operational costs and may offer a more sustainable long term education solution in the area.

There are two ways that it could be achieved:

  • Closure of 2 schools and an extension to the age range of the remaining school in order to cover the whole age range needed for an all-through school.
  • Closure of all 3 schools, to be replaced by a new all-through school academy building.

More detailed information on all the options and the feasibility studies that have already been carried out, including some preliminary costings and plans, can be found in the following documents:


Have your say

Before any decisions are made, Cumbria County Council would like your views on what you think is the best way forward. So to have your say in this important decision, you need to:

  1. Go online and complete a very short questionnaire (this is open until 24 October).
  2. Attend the Consultation Event on Thursday, 2nd October at 6pm at Samuel Kings School to find out more and ask questions about the options being considered.

Depending on the outcome of this informal consultation, a single proposal could be put forward for further consultation and decision by the County Council’s Cabinet.

 

Number of Pupils on School Rolls by year

 

Jan 04

Jan 05

Jan 06

Jan 07

Jan 08

Jan 09

Jan 10

Jan 11

Jan 12

Jan 13

Jan 14

School Samuel
  King’s

183

202

217

211

211

204

200

182

161

156

120

Alston

163

137

119

113

103

105

93

105

103

103

102

Nenthead

29

33

36

33

30

34

28

24

22

25

22

TOTAL

375

372

372

357

344

343

321

311

286

284

244