A HALTWHISTLE town councillor has claimed that the uncertainty over the future of the town’s middle school is causing children and families to suffer “mental trauma”.

The school, which forms part of Haltwhistle Academy, has been under threat since WISE, the academy trust that runs it announced plans to switch to a two-tier system.

WISE Academies took over the running of Haltwhistle Academy in September, replacing controversial academy trust, Bright Tribe.

In order to bring the schools in line with the system used in the rest of the Haydon Bridge partnership, WISE consulted on changing the age range at the schools to form a primary school last year, with a view to changing the age range by this September.

The school is now waiting on a decision from the Department for Education, but at last week’s Haltwhistle Town Council meeting, councillors said that the current uncertainty over children’s futures was unacceptable.

Coun. Margaret Forrest said: “It’s appalling that the children in this day and age are being put through this trauma.

“When I speak to parents about what they’re going through with their children, it is mental trauma.

“The children are asking their parents ‘were are we going?’ Parents are worried sick.”

However, WISE said that the proposals were on track, and a decision from the Department for Education was expected soon.

A spokesman for WISE said: “Proposals are on track to close Haltwhistle middle and extend Haltwhistle first and to create a primary provision on the Haltwhistle site with effect from September 1, 2019.

“Prior to Christmas WISE Academies carried out a consultation exercise resulting in a sizeable majority of respondents in favour of moving forward with the proposals.

“WISE Academies made the application to the Department for Education to make these changes and to conduct a listening period.

“In accordance with the project timeline WISE Academies expect to be granted Secretary of State approval very shortly.

“WISE Academies will continue to work hard with the local authority to determine what the primary provision will look like and to maximise as much investment as possible.

“WISE Academies will also continue to engage with parents, staff, local councillors and other interested parties on how to implement these changes and will keep all stakeholders fully informed of progress.”