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Crucial meeting to decide the future of the Berwick area school system

At this week’s meeting of the council’s Family and Children’s Services Oversight and Review Committee, members were told that the Berwick Schools Partnership is facing significant challenges in terms of sustainability.

Berwick Academy – the area’s high school – was rated as ‘in need of improvement’ by Ofsted in November after it was found to be inadequate amid plans to have 128 free places in the partnership at the during the single year of hosting by 2025.

A number of options were offered to schools, but the only one supported by a majority of schools was a change to a two-tier system, removing colleges from the area. Nine schools were in favor of the option, while four were against and three were undecided.

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The future of the education system in the Berwick area is due to be discussed by county councilors on Tuesday.

It comes as the council plans to invest millions of pounds to improve education in the area.

Cath McEvoy-Carr, director of adult and child services for the council, said: “There is a significant amount of investment planned for the Berwick partnership, with a significant amount of work being undertaken.

“It’s not a process led by local authorities, we say it’s the system we want to achieve. This is a unique opportunity to influence the education system in Berwick, not only in Berwick, but in the surrounding area.

“The reason this has been carefully considered is that we want to make sure that we fully understand our children, our parents and our carers and what they really want.

“We’ll never get a homogenous idea, but this is an opportunity to take a careful and thoughtful approach.”

The report will be presented to the council office on Tuesday, before parents are consulted on the plans.

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