COUNCIL chiefs are planning a £1.54m cash injection to turn around the fortunes of Haydon Bridge High School.

A long-term crisis at the school, which has been in special measures for over three years, triggered the consultation on the future of education in west Northumberland.

Now in a newly-published report, Northumberland County Council has announced plans to keep Haydon Bridge High open as an 11-18 secondary school.

The council’s cabinet has been recommended to approve a proposal which includes a £1.54 investment to tackle the school’s financial problems, address falling pupil numbers, and make it viable.

This will see the school, which was subject of a failed academy bid by the Bright Tribe Trust last November, come back under local authority control for at least three years, or until a new sponsor is found by the government for it to become an academy.

A local authority appointed interim executive board will be established, and a new curriculum will also be drawn up at Haydon Bridge. This is expected to have a strong vocational offer, alongside GCSEs and A-levels.

Headteacher Darren Glover said: “Staff in school are obviously pleased with the report, and happy that there is security around the school’s future.

“We all know that we have a lot to do to ensure this proposal is successful and delivers for the students, and are confident we can do this.”

Mr Glover was also confident that local authority support, alongside improvements already made at the school, would increase both pupil numbers and viability.

A separate county council report last December claimed Haydon Bridge High was £1m in the red, was racking up losses of more than £600,000 a year, and had only 361 pupils on its register.

Haydon Bridge’s secondary school status, coupled with proposals for six first schools to become primaries, would mean an almost entirely two-tier system in the Haydon Bridge partnership.

Haltwhistle’s first and middle schools have academy status and would remain as they are.