Eskdale School Closure Proposal

Eskdale School

Whitby Secondary Partnership have contacted parents that they are proposing to close Eskdale Secondary School in September 2023. You can read the notification here. This is the second time in 7 years that there has been an attempt to close this east side school. Understandably parents are very annoyed. The problem in the education system in Whitby is actually not Eskdale School (with around 90% subscription) but more the retention of pupils at the age of 16, where 60+% leave the town to go to other educational locations further afield. The proposed closure has attracted media interest in the Yorkshire Post and NY Enquirer.

A petition has been started to gather support. You can find this here.

Such a decision leaves many open questions that don’t appear to have answers

  • What is the assessment of the Playing Pitch Strategy for the Whitby area, should this be closed? You cannot simply add extra facilities around the Caedmon School(s) area. The 4G pitch needs changing rooms, but there won’t be any. Fishburn Park’s pitch presumably also needs changing rooms / facilities. Clearly this also impacts on SBC’s desire to bury people on Larpool Playing Field, since there’d then be even less green space (whether public access, or school access) on east side.
  • Why is it that 16-18 age group education in Whitby has failed so badly that 60+% leave the town? Where was the assessment of what would be required to change this? What about putting the “Maritime School” in Whitby Sixth Form and save the £10m for putting a monstrosity on Endeavour Wharf?
  • Why do SBC want to construct a new monstrosity in a conservation zone on Endeavour Wharf when they could make use of spare space at Caedmon College Sixth Form and alleviate any financial problems of this school partnership? Note, that also had zero consultation.
  • Where are the considerations of transport for the children who will now have a much longer journey to get to school? Don’t forget NYCC have done absolutely nothing for active travel in this town so much so that cycling is not even considered in the School Travel Plan. In terms of walking, many will need to cross New Bridge (40mph), and there is a single pedestrian crossing on the whole of Mayfield Road, with a serious road collision on that road back in December. Where is the safety assessment for this quantity of children travelling to school (including the number of cars that will be used) ? Yes, WCN want to talk to NYCC about how bad the transport system is.
  • The MP for Whitby says that “short of building 10000 houses there is no simple solution“. He doesn’t mention that Scarborough Borough Council have presided over the building of 680 houses in the last 10 years (and the population of Whitby has not changed to any degree, largely
    because significant numbers have become holiday lets, and that local
    people cannot afford to buy – something his Government have done nothing about). There are 600 more to come which should start to add to the population. Building 10000 is clearly a stupid statement, since that would (more than) double the size of Whitby.
  • Why do some people think that renaming the resultant school will somehow be a “solution” to concerns? This is about something much more radical, what opportunities for children there are in this town.

Here’s an attempt to analyse the numbers of pupils, rather than take councillor’s word for where the problem is.

Caedmon College has 2 sites, and in the latest OFSTED (Feb 2022) there were 165 in the 6th form, on a site with capacity of 552. Meaning

  • Caedmon 16-19 : 165/552 = 29.9% subscribed
  • Caedmon 11-16 : 621/987 = 62.9% subscribed
  • Caedmon overall : 786/1539 = 51.1% subscribed
  • Eskdale 11-16 : 458/510 = 89.8% subscribed
If we assume that all 11-16 from Eskdale go to Caedmon 11-16 then we have
  • Caedmon 16-19 : 165/552 = 29.9% subscribed
  • Caedmon 11-16 : 1079/987 = 109% subscribed
  • Caedmon overall : 1244/1539 = 80.8% subscribed
Conclusion is that there are too many 11-16 for any single school site, hence meaning split site.
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One thought on “Eskdale School Closure Proposal

  1. I could add more about this situation as I have been both a teacher here and governor at both Caedmon and Eskdale and watched this sorry situation unfold over many years.

    Also my other main issue is Parkin on the prom and your group could certainly help with some backup I am currently awaiting SBC complaints to get back to me after 9 months of buck passing.

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