Eskdale plan branded ‘smoke and mirrors’

Eskdale School Consultation at Whitby Pavillion.
Eskdale School Consultation at Whitby Pavillion.

Campaigners fighting to prevent the merger of Eskdale School with Caedmon College have submitted their response to the county council as the consultation period over the plans officially came to an end this week.

They have drafted a 54-page document covering their views on the town’s education system, concerns should the merger be pushed through despite massive public objection and input from other groups which use the school facilities.

The document is in direct response to reports released by the county council in February setting out its argument for the controversial move which would mean the technical closure of Eskdale.

Campaigners slam the county council document as being “smoke and mirrors” and “intended to satisfy a pre-determined outcome”.

They believe the county council has been given an ultimatum by the Caedmon College governors to find a solution to its financial crisis or it would go down the route of obtaining Academy status - therefore removing it from local authority control.

The document says: “Drawn up with a specific agenda the report is in essence totally biased.

“There is no business case for the proposal which should have been constructed according to government best practice and taking into account the monetary and non-monetary cost and benefits.”

They added: “We believe that the key issues raised in the report are full of errors and misleading information as highlighted in this response which is backed up by facts, not smoke and mirrors.”

Their key objections to the proposal are:

•no choice or competition - other comparable town have an alternative school within 10 to 15 miles

•safety concerns over traffic and movement between sites

•split site and transition set- up similar to current situation

•most evidence is based on Eskdale’s Ofsteds, no reports for Caedmon

•proposal exists to fund failing 6th form with no other option put forward to help solve it.

The Eskdale campaign was spurred into action following a leaked announcement back in January .

Since then there have been protests through town, two public meetings in the town attended by several hundred people plus a petition with more than 5,000 names on it.

The fight to save the school, which despite two poor Ofsted reports is hugely popular with local families, also attracted the backing of famous former pupils including Downton Abbey actress Jo Froggatt, singer Alistair Griffin and Yorkshire and England cricketer, Adam Lythe.