A TEACHER at a school earmarked for closure has warned it has been severely undermined by recent revelations.

Terry Bladen, who works at Darlington's Eastbourne Comprehensive School and is the town's negotiating secretary for teaching union the NASUWT, warned teachers may start deserting the school and pupil numbers could fall, after news that it may close.

Last week, Darlington Borough Council revealed proposals to shut Eastbourne and Hurworth schools, and to build a £20m Hurworth School on the edge of Darlington.

Speaking as a union representative, Mr Bladen said: "We are going to have teachers who want to leave. Who is going to replace them if they know they may not have a job in a few years?

"This has undermined Eastbourne and the authority needs to act quickly to rectify the situation.

"Parents may now be thinking, 'I am not going to send my children there'."

If the school roll drops it will hit the budget because schools are funded per pupil.

Mr Bladen said: "This has been very badly handled and I think it is outrageous that the council has outlined these plans when we may not get the funding until 2011."

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council, said: "We have taken the earliest opportunity to make these proposals known so we can maximise opportunities for consultation.

"The proposed new school will have 1,200 pupils and will, therefore, need the majority of staff who are employed in the two schools.

"The council is aware of the hard work and loyalty to the school and to the children by staff at both Eastbourne and Hurworth.

"We would envisage parents will want to send their children to Eastbourne, which will be replaced by the new school."

Meanwhile, a date has been set for a public meeting in Hurworth to discuss the proposed closure of the village's secondary school.