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Teachers survive early anxieties

Audrey White, Braeview's guidance and English teacher, confesses staff were as upset as the pupils. They were unsure if they would be reappointed to the combined school and how they would fit in. "There was a lot of hassle for teachers," Miss White says.

She encouraged pupils to write letters of protest rather than walk out of the school. Like others, she believes Braeview has settled down well. "It is a new school with a larger staff and there is a lot more optimism. Even when you talk to ex-Linlathen kids they seem to enjoy it and ex-Whitfield kids say it is not much different."

Developments like the behaviour support system have gone down well with teachers and pupils. "They say it is strict up here and you do not get away with anything," Miss White observes.

Lesley Denby, her guidance colleague and learning support teacher, who taught at Whitfield for 12 years, shared the early anxieties. "People were worried about their jobs and there was an awful lot of stress prior to the summer holidays. It was quite distressing seeing colleagues who did not get jobs, " Ms Denby says. In many ways, it was "a grieving process, a time of loss for everybody".

Senior management at Braeview have made strenuous efforts to project a new image and style for the combined school, Ms Denby says. In-service training ensured staff worked to the same agenda, while pupils were helped to break the ice and mix with children from the other secondary.

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