New schools merger planned for this year

Caedmon School head teacher Tony Hewitt with Whitby Community College head teacher Keith Prytherch ''w140309e
Caedmon School head teacher Tony Hewitt with Whitby Community College head teacher Keith Prytherch ''w140309e

The education revolution in Whitby took another huge leap forward this week as two schools announced plans to merge.

Following on from Eskdale’s proposals to become an academy, Caedmon and Whitby Community College now say they want to join forces.

Should the plans be approved, Caedmon could close as a separate school this September.

“We have been in discussion with the secondary schools in the Whitby area about the benefits of joining together to become one school for some time,” said county councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools. “We all share the same aspirations - to ensure that children in the Whitby area have the best educational experience they can, and achieve the best they can.”

The county council has given the go-ahead for a consultation on the plans to form a single 11-19 school.

The local authority said it has had a long-standing view that it would be in the best interests of children in Whitby for the secondary schools to be working more closely together.

“There is much support for this initiative,” said Richard Simpson, chair of the governing body of Whitby Community College. “The governing body has sought to form closer ties and increased collaboration with the Whitby schools for some time in order to improve the educational experience, opportunities and attainment of the young people in the area.”

The intention of the merger, said Whitby Community College head teacher Keith Prytherch, was to remove the school transfer at ages 14 and 16 which interrupts pupils’ education.

He added that the proposals would allow the schools to share resources and create a more efficient business model. Money will instead be spent on learning, with staff able to receive extra training and potentially work with the same group of students throughout their time in the new school.

Neil Slater, chairman of the governing body of Caedmon School, said: “I am very pleased that the two governing bodies and staff wish to work together on this exciting project to remove the secondary transition for the younger people of Whitby to create a more joined up approach to secondary education.

“The intention will be to retain the best of both the schools and create the best possible learning opportunities.”