PARENTS of pupils at Ponteland Community Middle School are fighting to secure its future just weeks after it was named one of the best secondary schools in England.

The top-performing school twice rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted was recently placed 25th in a Sunday Times ranking of the top 250 state primary schools in England.

The Department of Education saved the school from closure after it was granted permission to convert to an academy in April 2016, but refused permission for the school to extend its age range to 16.

A Northumberland County Council proposal to convert from a three-tier to two-tier system has meant parents are being forced to reconsider their child’s place at the outstanding school due to its uncertain future.

A petition set up to protect the school’s future has received more than 1,600 signatures and appeals to Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman and Northumberland County Council to take action.

Parent, Tracey Powers, said: “This should be a time of celebration for the school after it’s been recognised as the best school in Northumberland but we’re being forced to fight for its future.”

Dorean Kidd has recently moved to Ponteland and enrolled her child at the middle school.

“For a new parent in the school, it’s the SATS results and the exceptional sporting achievements that make you want your child to learn here,” she said.

Parent, Hermina Ely said: “The ethos of the school is one that continues to thrive and grow. We want to continue the success of the school and the careers of the teachers.”

Parents feel the school should be allowed to remain as a middle school and provide a pathway for students into the new secondary school at year nine.