North Yorkshire County Council have announced the consultation on the amalgamation of Eskdale and Caedmon College schools. The link provides
- the proposal,
- some background information,
- and form to have your say on the proposal.
There will be public meetings at Whitby Spa Pavilion on Wednesday 8th March at 12:30pm and 6:30pm.
This is the first major issue under the new North Yorkshire Council that will affect our area for many years to come – the education and skills training on offer in our market town hub of Whitby. The issue of the Whitby senior schools amalgamation and closure does not just impact on our children – present and future, but on the adult education and training of which there is very little at present, on the community and on the economic sustainability of the town.
The present proposal shows no investment or vision for the area and seems to be based simply on the financial issues. Why has there been no consultation or planning over the last seven years when numbers first started falling, and why has the same proposal been made even though the closure of Eskdale school has been rejected twice in the past decade or so? Should we be asking for a total review and future plan, prior to any other decisions being taken?
Should we not be looking at all the issues such as
- Does this option consider children’s well being and welfare bearing in mind the education difficulties children have suffered during Covid, also health in our Coastal Communities is already considered poor. (see Note 2 – CMO Annual Report 2021), and following two years disrupted education due to the Covid pandemic, is this school closure the answer, particularly one much loved by parents and pupils as demonstrated by the high ratio of pupils?
- Has the importance of SENS education and the difficulties in transferring these children to new locations been considered?
- Educational and skills achievement in this area are already below national average, is this not a backward step to return to split age schooling (11 -14, 14- 19)?
- Lack of investment in this area is notable, even though Whitby is the seventh largest town in North Yorkshire, with the existing schools built in 1912, 1953 and 1963. A new school was recently built in Scarborough, even though sufficient spaces in Whitby could have been utilised saving the cost of a new school and bringing skills training to Whitby.
- Has the £10M Town Deal Maritime Hub with a maritime academy been fully reviewed and consulted on? Could this money perhaps be better utilised to provide a wider range of skills training for local residents utilising an existing school building? Also is this the time to be building a new office block on a zone 3 flood plain when we are trying to achieve net zero?
- Travel Plan : What are the issues with increased traffic congestion if the present proposal is progressed and what actions will be taken to make our roads safer? What effort has been made to encourage cycling, walking and using public transport to schools? All schools should have 20mph outside, following a recent motion at NYCC, and having 500 children crossing the New Bridge then that would also need to have its speed limit dropped.
- Green Space : The closure of Eskdale school could have a massive impact on green spaces and the loss of playing pitches in Whitby including the loss of changing facilities to the 3G pitch and Fishburn Park Football football club. What assessment has been made to counter these losses and to improve the well-being, and biodiversity of the town? Also it should be noted most of the ongoing house building is in the area surrounding Eskdale school. Also the Normanby site alone would not have the extent of sports fields recommended for a school of that size and children would have to use facilities at the Scoresby site. Since Whitby already has a deficit of sports green space then, abiding by the SBC Local Plan Rule HC14, it will be prohibited to reclassify 5.75ha of sports playing field from Eskdale school, and would only provide 1.75ha of buildings able to be sold off.
- If there is only one choice of school in Whitby, will parents look to other towns for their children’s education, leading to a further loss of pupils
- Has an assessment been made on the risk to the Esk Valley train line if further pupils leave the Whitby area? The failure of NYCC to ensure free travel for 16-19 year olds in full time education has no doubt led to children moving north for their education.
- Has digital connectivity to our catchment area and schools been reviewed to ensure full advantage can be taken of future technology?
- Whitby has a lack of community halls, schools are very under-utilised, therefore can they not be multi-purposed to provide further community facilities?
- What are the Council and our MP’s doing to ensure fair funding is available for education and skills training in North Yorkshire, particularly in the more deprived areas such as Whitby?
- Why not take the opportunity and provide a new purpose-built school for the whole of Whitby for 11-18?