Letter: Harton children failed by council

Councillor Jim Foreman praises Harton Technology College (Gazette, 26th February) and adds that “as a  ward member for Cleadon Park, it also makes me very proud knowing local children will go on to attend such a great school.”

Despite being “lead member for children and young people”, Coun Foreman was not entirely accurate, and should have stated that only ‘some’ local children will attend Harton Technology College, as many children living in Harton and Cleadon Park are forced to travel outside of their communities to attend other schools.

Some children living in the Cleadon Park and Harton areas are unable to attend the school due to a bizarre catchment area arrangement.  Even South Tyneside Council’s education staff have been unable to explain why the school’s catchment area was devised in such a way that a child living on the south side of Sunderland road would not be able to attend, whilst a child living on Camel’s Island would.

It isn’t all the fault of catchment areas though.  The current ideological craze for fewer and larger schools guarantees that many children will be forced to travel further to school.  This is a  program designed not for education, but to feed the greedy PFI monster that is feasting on many of our public services.

The success of Harton Technology College should rightly be congratulated, but this only feeds the disappointment felt by parents whose children have been failed by South Tyneside Council.

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