Decision day for future of Eskdale School

Eskdale School. Photo: Scott Wicking
Eskdale School. Photo: Scott Wicking

Today is the day where Eskdale School will find out whether proposals for its closure are set to be taken forward.

North Yorkshire County Council’s education boss, Cllr Arthur Barker is due to decide whether to go out to public consultation over plans to close the school and merge it with Caedmon College.

The move has angered parents and pupils, who have spent the last month campaigning to keep it open, and left staff in tears.

Yesterday (Monday) a coach load of Eskdale supporters travelled to Northallerton to the council headquarters where they handed petitions with 5000 signatures to Cllr Barker and Pete Dwyer, director of children’s services.

Led by local West Cliff member, Cllr Joe Plant they pleaded with Cllr Barker to not decide Eskdale’s fate today and six members of the group questioned Mr Dwyer on the issue.

A spokesperson said: “The team put forward our arguments for choice of secondary education in Whitby. We asked what evidence he had that would suggest that one single secondary school (on split sites) would provide the best quality education for pupils in Whitby?

“We stressed that a handful of governors should not be making decisions of this importance and scale without talking to the people of Whitby that it affects. Surely over 5000 people is more representative than the handful who have made the proposal to amalgamate the schools and close Eskdale?”

“The proposed consultation document seems to be following one route only which involves the closure of our much loved school. We voiced our concerns that all this seemed to be a ‘done deal’ and that the public consultation seemed merely a paper based exercise on the part of the county council.”

Despite please from parents to withdraw the consultation document, Mr Dwyer said he wouldn’t do that but “stated that the public would get a chance to speak in meetings, within the consultation timetable, about the proposed merger, if it goes ahead.”