PONTELAND Middle School will convert to a primary school next year, following a public consultation.

In a report released last week, headteacher Caroline Pryer said the board of trustees had unanimously agreed that the change should take place from September 2020, with a pupil admission number of 60 per year.

Dr Pryer said: “Trustees decided there was clearly strong support from parents and staff to convert to primary and secure a sustainable future for the school.”

The consultation took place between December 20 and January 31, with staff, parents and the local community asked whether to extend the age range from nine to 13 years, to two to 11 years.

The report confirms 313 responses were received, with some of the feedback collected during a consultation meeting held on January 14.

The final outcome saw 66 per cent of respondents in favour of the move, 33 per cent were against, and one per cent indicated that they were unsure.

In 2016, a Northumberland County Council consultation saw the education system in Ponteland shift from three-tier to two-tier education. After initially being threatened with closure, the middle school converted to an academy, Ponteland Academy Trust, in September 2017.

However, bids to extend the age range of the school to include GCSE provision were unsuccessful, and the Department for Education recommended that the school converted to a primary.

But Parent, Hermina Ely had hoped the school would remain within the three-tier system.

She said: “People are deflated by the whole situation. It’s tricky trying to adjust to the reality of two-tier when we were told about the possibility of a hybrid system.

“Some parents have got children at all different ages, and where it might suit one child it won’t necessarily suit the other.

“It’s such a waste and an inconceivable idea that we are leaving the school in this situation.”

Senior leaders at the middle school said children would continue to achieve outstanding outcomes following the conversion to primary.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “In order to alleviate the concerns that some parents have, we facilitated meetings between the school and its controlling body, the Regional Schools Commissioner. As a council we remain committed to ensuring the best education for all young people in Northumberland.”