Uncertainty over the future of Haydon Bridge High School has been cited as a key factor in a school adjudicator’s decision to save Bellingham Middle School.

In a report released this week, adjudicator, Tom Brooke said his decision to reject Northumberland County Council’s plans to close the middle school and create a two-tier system was due primarily to concerns about the high school.

Mr Brooke said: “I am required to take into account the overall quality of provision, the likely supply and future demand for school places. I am not satisfied that the overall quality of provision is secure. HBHS has required special measures since 2014.”

The county council is still pressing ahead with plans to convert first schools into primaries in the Haydon Bridge catchment area to support the high school, but Mr Brooke added: “This will leave an anomalous situation in which there remains a middle school amongst primary schools. Pupils would also face a longer journey to school, in some cases in excess of the maximum recommended by guidance.

He added: “HBHS is currently judged by Ofsted to be inadequate and it is too early to say whether measures to secure its improvement will be effective.

Coun. Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “We’re very disappointed with the findings of the schools adjudicator. Unfortunately, the report contains a number of inaccuracies which we will be responding to. Overall we feel there’s a real lack of clear and detailed narrative in his report.”