Until 2008, Northumberland was one of the few wholly three-tier authorities in England. It had one of the largest number of 'Middle deemed Secondary' schools of any authority, with nearly 40.
The authority announced its intention to revert to two tiers in 2004, with plans approved in 2005 despite strong opposition from both parents and Middle Schools alike. However, very few changes were made before plans were dropped due to financial constraints.
The four middle schools in the Alnwick partnership are proposed to close in 2017. Richard Coates School will become a primary from 2019.