Proposed Goosehill school move to County Hall site

morpeth-first-school-drawing

Sadly, the proposed rebuild of Goosehill school is being used as a political tool. I have been a governor at the school for fourteen years and Chair of Governors for a significant part of that time, but I have never used the school for political advantage. Unfortunately, I am now obliged to make a statement that I would never otherwise have countenanced.

I have been contacted by email by Cllr David Bawn, asking “Do you support this re-location of the School and the re-location of County Hall? I am sure the electors of Morpeth North would be interested on your views.” I have not responded to him, as no doubt he would use it to misquote and mislead. Instead, I will put my full position on this blog for anyone to read for themselves.

In all the years I have been involved with Goosehill, the Head teacher and governors have agonised over our future. We have seen sites that could have been used put to other purposes, with the interests of our children coming low down on the list of priorities and financial interests. Morrison’s, Davidson’s garage, the Police Station. County were unsuccessful in bidding for the latter, and some people in Morpeth are pleased about that, as it protects one of the town’s old buildings. Not all aspirations are compatible. We even asked about the extended Library site, but that of course is a potential cash cow for County. We therefore stressed that if County Hall site was the only option, we would prefer the frontage, and we were very pleased to be offered that valuable part of the site. I do not feel compromised in any way about the proposed site for Goosehill, as the rebuild could go ahead even if County Hall were to remain where it is. In fact, if a smaller size County Hall were to be built at Loansdean, that would be the cheapest option, as identified initially by the consultants. I believe that is what should happen and have consistently said so.

I fully understand the concerns raised by some parents in central Morpeth about the trek to the new school building, and that is part of why we have agonised over where we could go. However, we have Hobson’s choice. There is no other site available to us and a new build is in the best interests of our current and future children. I hope that parents will be able to work together to assist each other in getting their children safely to and from school. The move is just a proposal at the moment and very new. The Head teacher, governors and parents have time to consider options as we go forward but, unfortunately, not everyone will be satisfied. 

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About Joan Tebbutt

Joan is a Morpeth Town Councillor representing Morpeth Kirkhill, and previously represented the area on Castle Morpeth Borough Council and the County Council before it became a Unitary Authority. She has been a school governor for 14 years and is Chair of Governors at Morpeth County First School (Goosehill). A former Mayor of Morpeth (2013/14) she is Chair of Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and Chair of the Town Council's Planning and transport Committee.
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