MP hits out at closure consultation for Roseberry College and Sixth Form at Newfield, near Chester-le-Street

The Northern Echo: North Durham MP Kevan Jones North Durham MP Kevan Jones

AN MP has condemned consultation over school closure proposals as “a sham”.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones hit out at Durham County Council after it decided to move to the next stage in the process for shutting Roseberry College and Sixth Form at Newfield, near Chester-le-Street.

The council has been holding consultations with the community for some time and has now decided to publish a formal notice advising people of its plans.

The council will then be able to decide whether or not to press ahead.

Mr Jones said: “This is disastrous news for the school just before Christmas.

“The consultation has been a complete sham, and Durham County Council must now say quickly where they intend for Roseberry students to go come September in the event that the school does close.

“I will be asking for an urgent meeting with the council to discuss this matter further.”

The statutory notice will propose that Roseberry College and Sixth Form closes from August 31 next year.

The council’s cabinet will have to consider objections to the notice before making its decision.

Caroline O’Neill, the council’s head of education, said: “I can confirm, following consultation with the public, a decision has been taken to move to the next stage of the process, which is to issue a statutory notice on the proposal to close the school.

“That said, those interested have until January 23 to comment or object to the notice, with all comments being taken into consideration.”

People in the community have launched a campaign to fight the closure and say that the council has its facts wrong.

Officials say there are too many empty places at the school and have questioned its academic record.

As well as the of a well-used community facility, people in the area are concerned about where Roseberry pupils will be educated.

Many believe the school is being closed to fill vacant places at the North Durham Academy in Stanley.

People wanting to object can write to Adam Williams, School Places and Admissions Team, Children and Adults Services, Business Reply Service, Licence No. DU63 (Freepost), Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5BR.

Objections and comments can also be sent via the council's website at www.durham.gov.uk or e-mailed to schoolorganisation@durham.gov.uk

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