Councillor Wayne Daley is in Peter Jackson's cabinet with responsibility for Children's Services. This week he reports on three projects which will form the backbone of his department's work for the year ahead. A major investment in Tynedale schools, an overhaul of education in Berwick and a boost for schools with Special Educational Needs will all feature high on Wayne's to do list this year.
On 10th July, cabinet members will make a decision on proposals to approve a multi million pound investment into schools in the West of the county following the informal consultation on education. There will be £5.1 Million invested in the Haydon Bridge partnership, together with the creation of a 0 - 11 school in Bellingham which will include early years provision for the Bellingham area. Haydon Bridge School will also get a injection of £1.2 million into teaching and learning to support massive improvements into its results.
There will also be up to £40 million for the building of a new High School in Hexham.
For Berwick, Cllr Daley held a summit of Berwick Councillors following a meeting with school leaders in the area. The meeting took place on June 29th.
The summit outlined some of the plans being drawn up by the Council and partners to deliver a good education to Berwick and the surrounding areas.
Cllr Daley and the regional schools commissioner are working up detailed plans to support Berwick Academy and Berwick Councillors outlined their desire for the creation of a Big Deal for Berwick Summit in November to bring together the plans for investment in the school and for the wider economic regeneration.
A third priority for the department focuses on children with special educational needs. Cllr Wayne Daley will be attending an SEND conference on 6th July in the area to develop partnerships with providers and national policy makers.
SEND provision in Northumberland has been neglected for too long by the previous council. Too many children are forced out of Northumberland to get the education they deserve because the previous administrations failed to act. Under the new Conservative run Council, two high profile consulations have been run to identify key locations, provision and future planning of the SEND service including involving young people themselves through the dedicated Careers Service with Wayne and Stephen Miller (pictured), Paralympic Gold Medalist from Cramlington.
Cllr Daley said:
"I am delighted we have taken these challenges on.
"We picked up an immensely challenging state of education in the county when we formed our administration last year.
"We haven't tried to hide from the challenge though. By investing where it's needed, and making sure residents lead on the plans we're creating we've been able to make sure the education system in Northumberland works for everyone."