TWO Hexham schools have come together on the same site and are set to open next week - with a slight Covid-related delay.

Pupils from Queen Elizabeth High School and Hexham Middle School will both return from their summer holidays on September 10 to the existing high school site which, following millions of pounds of investment, now contains new buildings and facilities along with sports and leisure facilities for community use.

Northumberland County Council said the pupils' return will be delayed by several days because of Covid-related disruption to the building work. 

A spokesperson said: "It is expected that students and staff will be welcomed back to both Hexham Middle School and Queen Elizabeth High School from Friday, September 10.

"It was hoped that students for both schools could begin their return from Wednesday, September 8 but due to Covid restrictions in place up until August 16 a number of contractors were having to self-isolate as close contacts, causing a delay in the planned works.

"The works are back on track and will be completed for handover prior to the students return.

"Plans are being put in place by the schools for testing of those in Year 7 and above prior to their return in line with government guidance.

"Parents and carers, staff and students have been extremely understanding and we thank them for their patience."

The new buildings are part of a £36m investment in Hexham schools, and the work has been years in the planning, with Hexham MP Guy Opperman launching the ‘Invest in QEHS’ campaign with local councillors in 2013.

Mr Opperman said: “After a long campaign over the last ten years, I am delighted that brand new school buildings for Queen Elizabeth High and Hexham Middle schools are finally complete.

"These state-of-the-art new facilities will ensure pupils get the very best education locally.

"My big thanks go to the government, the county council, and local county councillors Cath Homer and Trevor Cessford all their hard work.”

Cllr Cath Homer, county councillor for Hexham East, said the new development is a "wonderful achievement" and added: “Queen Elizabeth High and Hexham Middle schools have always provided a good quality education for our children, despite the deteriorating condition of the buildings, and now finally we can see the high-quality facilities to match it.

"I wish the staff and pupils every success for the future.”

Cllr Trevor Cessford, a former teacher and county councillor for Hexham Central with Acomb, said: “Over my many years as a local teacher, I saw the importance of good school buildings and top class facilities.

"Queen Elizabeth High has always been a great school, but has been in desperate need of a rebuild. I am delighted it has been delivered.”