Struggling Shildon college could merge with nearbly school in bid to improve

The Advertiser Series: STRUGGLING COLLEGE: Sunnydale Community College which was criticised by Ofsted. STRUGGLING COLLEGE: Sunnydale Community College which was criticised by Ofsted.

A STRUGGLING Shildon college, which has been heavily criticised by Ofsted, could be closed before re-opening as part of a nearby secondary school.

Sunnydale Community College, on Middridge Lane, was judged by inspectors to be inadequate and have serious weaknesses when they visited earlier this year.

Its most recent GCSE results fell below the national average and despite having space for 954 pupils, only 400 are being taught there.

In response to the report by Ofsted, Durham County Council is looking into the problem and proposes closing Sunnydale Community College on December 31, and then re-open it on New Year’s Day as a part of Greenfield Community College, at Newton Aycliffe.

Sunnydale Community College, which is a specialist maths and computing school, already shares a governing body with the Newton Aycliffe school

Pupils at the schools can access lessons at both sites, which are two miles apart.

Greenfield, a specialist science and arts college, was labelled as good by Ofsted in 2012.

County councillor Henry Nicholson, of Shildon, and also a Sunnydale governor, said: “If we don’t do something about the situation now then the Government may take the decision out of our hands.

“We need to give the pupils the best opportunity. The most important thing is the education of the youngsters as we need to equip them for life in the 21st century.”

If the scheme is supported, Greenfield Community College headteacher, David Priestley, will be executive headteacher of both schools from September.

Sunnydale headteacher Sue Byrne was already expected to leave in the autumn.

In a joint statement the headteachers said: “These exciting proposals support our continued efforts to improve the educational standards and opportunities for our students.

“They’ll benefit from improved resources, an extended curriculum and investment to bring classrooms up to a modern standard."

Meetings for parents of pupils in Years Seven to Nine will take place at Sunnydale on Monday, June 23 and Greenfield on Tuesday,June 24.

Parents of Year Ten and 11 pupils have a meeting at Greenfield on Tuesday, July 1 and Sunnydale on Thursday,July 3.

A residents' meeting will take place at Greenfield on Tuesday, July 8, and Sunnydale on Wednesday, July 16. All meetings start at 7pm.

Carol O’Neill, the council’s head of education, said: “Having considered the need to act quickly following the current position of Sunnydale in terms low attainment and progress, these proposals will ensure that students will have wider opportunities for educational improvement.”

Comments can be sent to schoolorganisation@durham.gov.uk or online at durham.gov.uk. For details, visit durham.gov.uk/consultations

Comments (2)

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10:47pm Sun 22 Jun 14

Voice-of-reality says...

Better to close the failing school entirely and 'retire' the teachers who are partially responsible for the awful grades. If one or two children fail it is their fault – if, however, it is an entire school that keeps failing (and let's be honest - a handful of C, D and E grades are the marks of failure) then there is institutional rot that needs cutting out. Then, sell the land for private housing plough the money made back into the education department (and ring fence it for the newly enlarged Greenfield School). They are only a couple of miles apart so there is no good reason why the kids cannot walk the extra distance, or cycle. Of course a further positive of selling the land for private housing would be the influx of ‘better’ people into Shildon who might actually have the money to contribute meaningfully to the high street. I would further argue that there is no need for such a development to have social housing – there are, from what I have seen when I have occasionally driven through the town, more than enough objects already socially housed within the town’s environs.
Better to close the failing school entirely and 'retire' the teachers who are partially responsible for the awful grades. If one or two children fail it is their fault – if, however, it is an entire school that keeps failing (and let's be honest - a handful of C, D and E grades are the marks of failure) then there is institutional rot that needs cutting out. Then, sell the land for private housing plough the money made back into the education department (and ring fence it for the newly enlarged Greenfield School). They are only a couple of miles apart so there is no good reason why the kids cannot walk the extra distance, or cycle. Of course a further positive of selling the land for private housing would be the influx of ‘better’ people into Shildon who might actually have the money to contribute meaningfully to the high street. I would further argue that there is no need for such a development to have social housing – there are, from what I have seen when I have occasionally driven through the town, more than enough objects already socially housed within the town’s environs. Voice-of-reality
  • Score: 1

2:51pm Mon 23 Jun 14

flopzee says...

The main failure that this school has is that it's staff don't give a toss about the students. I was disgusted my the head teacher and her remarks about the students who were not going to pass that years exams and how basically they refused to teach them if that was their attitude. Surely as teaching staff, it is their responsibility to ensure that they at least try and get to the bottom of why these children are struggling with subjects. Of course you are always going to get the odd few kids who don't want to be there, but to kick them to the curb and not even bother is ridiculous.

Then of course there is the bullying that goes on in this school, and the approach of 'if we don't listen it will go away'. To tell a child to deal with it themselves or isolate the child that is being bullied is disgusting. I live very close to this school and chose to send my children to a school out of town as their attitudes and lack lustre approach to everything has not changed in the 20 odd years since I went there. The staff need a good kick up the backside and some of them need to choose a different career in my opinion, so hopefully, if the merger goes ahead, then hopefully the new head teacher can turn this school around like he has done with Greenfields.
The main failure that this school has is that it's staff don't give a toss about the students. I was disgusted my the head teacher and her remarks about the students who were not going to pass that years exams and how basically they refused to teach them if that was their attitude. Surely as teaching staff, it is their responsibility to ensure that they at least try and get to the bottom of why these children are struggling with subjects. Of course you are always going to get the odd few kids who don't want to be there, but to kick them to the curb and not even bother is ridiculous. Then of course there is the bullying that goes on in this school, and the approach of 'if we don't listen it will go away'. To tell a child to deal with it themselves or isolate the child that is being bullied is disgusting. I live very close to this school and chose to send my children to a school out of town as their attitudes and lack lustre approach to everything has not changed in the 20 odd years since I went there. The staff need a good kick up the backside and some of them need to choose a different career in my opinion, so hopefully, if the merger goes ahead, then hopefully the new head teacher can turn this school around like he has done with Greenfields. flopzee
  • Score: 3

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