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Gilesgate school to close, council confirms
A SECONDARY school facing falling rolls and budget cuts is to close, education chiefs have confirmed.
Durham County Council held a six-week public consultation on ending 11 to 16 education at Durham Gilesgate Sports College, on Bradford Crescent, Durham City, late last year.
The school had shrunk to just 234 pupils aged 11 to 16 and its budget had been cut by £1.3m.
Today (Friday, March 22), the council confirmed secondary education would end. It is thought this could happen within weeks.
Headteacher Arthur Raymond said: “As a result of low pupil numbers in years seven to 11 it is difficult to continue to provide an appropriate education for pupils in these year groups and the school will just focus on its educational provision for pupils 16 to 19 only.”
The school’s sixth form, on a separate site off Providence Row, will continue.
Pupils entering year 11 in September will finish their secondary education in temporary classrooms at Providence Row.
Children entering years eight, nine and ten will move to other schools and there will be no new year seven intake.
Staff will learn their fate next week.
Dennis Southwell, the chair of governors, said: “It’s the only way forward at this time.
“The school is very saddened that it’s come to closure but it’s the only conclusion that could be found.
“We didn’t have the students to make the school viable and we’ve got to now put all our efforts into making the sixth form centre move forward in a positive manner.”
What will happen to the Bradford Crescent site remains unknown.
However, Councillor Southwell is unhappy that, while the school’s future was still unresolved, officials twice visited to see whether the buildings could host the new Durham Free School, set to open in September.
Peter Cantley, the new school’s headteacher, said the Department for Education had looked at a number of sites around Durham and it would make the final decision on where it will be based.
Julie McNamara, whose daughter Sophie, 13, attends Gilesgate, said: “I’m devastated it’s closing. It’s such a shame. But they haven’t got the money, so what can you do?”