Will merger lead the way for staff reductions?

An amalgamation of Eskdale and Caedmon schools may lead to redundancies and staff reductions, despite an increase in pupil numbers.

The county council has released a series of lengthy consultation documents which looks at the different issues involved with the controversial merger that has prompted a mass campaign to save Eskdale School.

It says the merger and having a split school across two sites will save £61,000 but more savings could be made through “rationalisation of staffing”.

Starting with the two headteacher positions, currently occupied by Sue Whelan at Eskdale and Keith Prytherch at Caedmon College, it is indicated that Mr Prytherch will retain his position.

It says: “If the proposal is agreed there would be a single headteacher across the enlarged school.

“As Caedmon School would remain open and be enlarged the Headteacher from the school would take on that role.”

In a different document it is suggested that “further 
efficiences could be achieved through the sharing of contracts/procurement and through the rationalisation of staffing including the senior leadership team below the headteacher.”

The Caedmon governing body would be retained but with the option to recruit Eskdale governors if appropriate to a single school body that will have at least seven members.

Information in the consultation document also looks at the issue of Ofsted inspections for both schools.

In November last year Eskdale was deemed, for the second time, to be a school that ‘required improvement’.

Caedmon College was last inspected as Whitby Community College back in October 2014 and before it merged with the old Caedmon School.

It was judged to be good at a one day review in September last year but has yet to be formally inspected as the college it is now.

Any future inspection of a merged school would not take into consideration past evaluations.

It says: “If the two schools amalgamate the judgement attached to the closing school is effectively lost and in future the enlarged school would 
receive a single inspection and judgement.”

The consultation runs until April 1 and two public meetings have been arranged for next month.

Responses are set to be revealed at the end of April and a decision has been earmarked for June 14.

The document adds: “This would allow the two schools to combine the strengths and values of both schools through a single governing body, head teacher, staff and other 
resources. This would offer greater opportunities to 
pupils in terms of the breadth of the curriculum, having access to well-qualified specialist teachers and the extra-curricular and social opportunities open to them.”