Eskdale campaigners head to Northallerton with 5000 petition signatures

editorial image

Parents fighting to save Eskdale School from closure are heading to county council headquarters this morning to hand over a petition with over 5000 signatures.

A bus load left town this morning and they are now on route to Northallerton where it is hoped they can present the paperwork to senior education member, Cllr Arthur Barker.

He is due to make a decision tomorrow (Tuesday) on whether to forge ahead with plans to close Eskdale and transfer pupils and teaching staff to Caedmon College.

The proposals which were leaked almost a month ago have spurred parents of present and potential pupils, ex staff and Whitby Town Council into a campaign to save the school.

In a letter accompanying the petitions, the group Fight to Save Eskdale School say: “Quite simply there are more people who want to see Eskdale stay open than want to see it closed. Please hear their voice and let our youngsters have choice of secondary education in Whitby.”

On Friday and for the first time since the plans became public knowledge, the county council revealed more about its plans for merging the town’s secondary education establishments.

Under the proposal, the local authority would cease to maintain Eskdale School and enlarge Caedmon College as a single campus on its two sites.

A spokesperson said that both Eskdale and Caedmon College are in agreement with the idea which came about after discussions between both schools

If Cllr Barker agrees to pursue this - consultation will start later in February.

The council spokesperson added: “Since September 2015 the two schools have effectively had a shared catchment area, serving many of the same communities with the same issues and challenges, and drawing students, staff and governors from the same area.

“They both face financial challenges, and challenges around maintaining and improving the quality of educational provision. Both schools are aspirational for their students in terms of academic achievement, and focus on their students’ wellbeing and happiness. “They are geographically close to each other. For these reasons it is considered that they are logical partners. In addition the schools have collaborated over many years.”

Education bosses also say that amalgamating will also drive standards to be outstanding, deliver a coherent 11-19 curriculum in Whitby with potential for students to experience uninterrupted learning from 11 through to 19, drawing on the best from staff in both schools, increase the ability to recruit and retain the very best teaching staff and school leaders, be more flexible when to start GCSE and A level courses, make efficiencies in the use of scarce resources - to balance the books without detriment to either curriculum choice or front line teaching.