'It's time to work together' says new Whitby headteacher
When it comes to school rivalries, historically the one between Caedmon and Eskdale has always been strong.
But the new headteacher of Eskdale School, Andy Fyfe, is ready to break the tradition and work with Caedmon College, who also have a new head in Simon Reilly, someone who, after their first meeting, he feels confident of working alongside to enable the best opportunities for the young people in the area.
“When I first met Simon, we really hit it off. We have a lot of similar ideas,” said Mr Fyfe.
“I think it’s important that together we create the best possible opportunities for the young people of Whitby.
“We’re here to serve them. As teachers we’re providing a service and we need to make it the best possible one.
“When I talk about the kids of Whitby, I’m not just talking about pupils at Eskdale, I’m talking about those at Caedmon College too.”
The 2018-19 school year is the first in which Eskdale pupils will take GCSE exams – the school now teaches 11-16 year olds – with the new head believing that there is an element of pressure.
“We have a lot to prove,” he continued.
"There is a passion for learning and teaching here – it’s the spirit of Eskdale.
“The pupils are determined and resilient, and I’m confident that they’ll be successful.”
Mr Fyfe, originally from Liverpool, trained to be a teacher in Manchester, and did his senior training in the North East.
He has also worked at schools in Halifax and York.
The conversation showed a man who is proud of his achievements, operating with great success in “challenging schools”. It’s clear that he knows he’s taken on a different kind of challenge at Eskdale School.
While Whitby may not fall into the same bracket as some areas he has taught in, Mr Fyfe believes there are still issues to deal with.
“Whitby is a place whereby it’s maybe not on the same level when it comes to things like poverty compared to the likes of, say, South Shields.
“When I became a teacher, I always knew I wanted to become a headteacher, so I knew it was important for me to work in challenging schools.
“Throughout my career I’ve had a lot of different challenges in schools and that’s underpinned why I want the kids of the area to do well.
“While Whitby might not be on that same level, there are still people who are disadvantaged significantly and they’ve got as much right to a good education and the same opportunities as anyone.
“Balancing that is quite an exciting challenge for me, and one I’m looking forward to.”