Consultation on changing to primary status

At the request of the Governing Body, Northumberland County Council has initiated a formal consultation on changing the status of West End First School to a primary school beginning in September 2020.
The next stage of the process is the formal consultation on the Council's proposal to change the age range of West End First School from a 4 to 9 years first school to a 4 - 11 years primary school. The Council also proposes to change the admission number from 60 to 30 pupils per year, starting with Reception in 2020.
The Council is seeking the views of parents, carers and members of the local community who may be affected by this change. Having received an extremely positive response to the informal consultation, with 82% of respondents in favour of the change, the Council now wishes to know whether the proposal to make the change should go ahead.
Please follow the link below to the formal consultation document and information on how to respond. Or you can respond directly to the following email address.

Consultation on changing to primary status

Myth buster

Below are some of the questions and concerns raised by parents, carers, staff and children in relation to our proposed change to a primary school from September 2020.

How will all of the children fit into the West End site?

If the proposal is approved by Northumberland County Council they will commit funds to develop the site so that it meets the needs of primary age pupils. There is a legal obligation to provide enough space for children of this age. It is likely to mean building work being undertaken on the site. At this stage we don’t know what that will look like, but we are excited.

How will playtimes be managed for all age ranges?

We already split playtimes in the mornings so that the Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 children play separately and Reception and Nursery children have access to their own outdoor spaces during the day. Lots of primary schools have playtimes when all of the children play out together but we would be more likely to continue to split our playtimes to enable the older and younger children to play safely and have more room; this might also mean having separate sittings at lunchtime. Luckily there are already lots of primary schools in Bedlington from whom we can learn.

Will my child be in a mixed age range class and what will this mean for his/her education?

The falling birth rate across Bedlington means that there will be fewer children coming in to all Bedlington schools in future years. This is the reason why we are consulting on becoming a one and a half form entry school instead of two form entry. This was already the case before Meadowdale Academy decided to change its age range. As a result it may be necessary to have mixed age range classes in the future. This is something that we have done successfully in the past and is quite common in Northumberland schools. As a school we will decide which is the best way to mix the classes depending on what is best for the children academically, socially and emotionally. We will ensure that the curriculum is organised so no child misses out or repeats a topic. This will not impact on all classes as we are quite full in some year groups.


If the school reduces its pupil admission number to 45 will my child still have a place at West End?

Yes, all the children currently attending West End will  continue to have a place at the school. The proposal is to change the Pupil Admission Number for children entering Reception from September 2020.


Will I have to apply for my child to stay at West End in Year 5?

No, the children will automatically transfer into Year 5 at the end of Year 4. You will not need to apply for a place.


Will my child get the same opportunities in Year 5 and 6 at West End as they would at middle school?

We are very excited about developing our own Year 5 and 6 curriculum, which will deliver the same objectives as all Year 5 and 6 children are taught across the country. We will want to make it bespoke to West End, so we will continue to provide exciting and memorable experiences through trips and visits. We are also really looking forward to offering new extra-curricular activities and opportunities for another residential experience.

I am concerned that children from Year 6 will be mixing with children from Early Years and Key Stage 1.

Like every other primary school in the country, we will be organising our school day so that the children’s welfare is our top priority. Our children are already separated during the school day because of the school being split across three buildings. We will be organising the day to ensure that the children are mixing and playing together appropriately. We also think this will be a great opportunity for the older children to take on leadership roles (our Year 4s are already playground buddies and lunchtime helpers) so we will be investigating how the older children can support the younger ones through house events and playleaders (to name but two).

Do the staff know how to teach Years 5 and 6?

We have staff with recent experience of teaching in both primary and middle school settings in Years 5 and 6. All of our staff are primary trained and some of us have experience of leadership in primary schools. We also work very closely with the Bedlington partnership of schools, most of which are primaries, so we will be able to access support if we need it.

What about Year 6 SATs?

As primary teachers we are already involved in the preparation for Year 6 SATS through our everyday teaching, all of which leads to the end of Key Stage 2 and helps the children to develop the skills they will need at the end of primary school and in the future. We have staff who have recently taught in Year 6 and have administered the SATS and, of course, we will continue to work closely with the Bedlington partnership of schools and the local authority to ensure that our teaching meets the needs of the children and prepares them for their secondary education.

Can my child transfer from another pre-school or nursery setting to Reception at West End ?

Yes. The admissions process will stay the same with parents having the choice of where they would like to send their child to school (subject to space being available), regardless of where they currently attend pre-school or nursery.