THE opening of two Hexham schools on the same site has again been pushed back.

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

It was thought students would return to the site on September 15 after covid-enforced delays. But in a letter sent to parents yesterday (Monday), executive headteacher, Graeme Atkins, said the schools would not be ready until Monday, September 20.

"I am so sorry to be writing yet again with news of further delay", he said. "Whilst significant progress has been made since I last wrote to you, we have not been able to accept handover of the new buildings today, principally due to delays to final testing and certification.

"Whilst this is beyond our control, given the progress made and the nature of the outstanding issues, we are confident that students will return to school on Monday.

"In light of this news, we have enhanced our off-site provision for our younger and more vulnerable children, and will continue with live remote learning for our secondary aged students for the rest of this week."

He added: "Some parents have understandably asked why we did not appear to anticipate delay. We based our planning on very firm assurances that had been given to us, and a three-week contingency was factored in.

"All return-to-school dates we have communicated have been given in good faith based on the assurances we ourselves received. We feel strongly that we and the children have been let down. I appreciate that this does not take away the frustration that you and your child will feel.

"Please be assured that we are working very hard to support students this week and to get them back into school, and are actively planning on how we will make up for the disrupted start to term. We will write to you about this in due course."