Eskdale School : Open Letter from the Keep Choice in Whitby and Save Eskdale School group

Eskdale School

This is an open letter from the Keep Choice in Whitby and Save Eskdale School group directed to the Governors of Whitby Secondary Partnership (WSP) and North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC).

We feel for the second time that this is the only option open to us.

Since you made the announcement on Jan 4th 2023, our requests for information to be able to form the full picture of what has happened and is happening in Whitby Secondary education have been blocked.

It took six weeks for the minutes of the WSP meetings to be released, the agenda for the WSP meetings were requested after the first public meeting on 8th March, some were released on the 21st March.

The confidential minutes were requested via a Freedom of Information request, and at the end of the 20 working day period Mr Henshaw extended it by another 20 working days stating that there had to be a public interest test. WHY? The deadline was moved to the 17th March. We have yet to receive notification of why the delay OR receive the requested minutes.

A complaint has now been sent to the ICO.

The WSP Governors missed the Whitby Town Council meeting to “prepare for the public meetings” yet at those meetings COULD NOT answer any questions clearly, lacked details, relied on the use of “could be” rather than “will be”, or just provided no details at all.

NYCC have allowed the Governors to run WSP outside of DfE guidelines for a while (remember only 4 governors passed the proposal)

  1. The minimum number is 7 but MUST have 2 parent governors, 1 Local Authority, 1 staff, 1 head teacher – WSP have 1 parent, 1 staff, 1 head, with the rest as co-opts.
  2. The total staff can not be more than one third of the governing body – they have three but only seven or eight members on the governing body. There should only be 2.
  3. EGMs can be classed as confidential minutes BUT there must be agendas and the attendence recorded as a normal meeting would be – WSP have had three such meetings, and NO attendence or Agendas have been recorded for any.
  4. Brian Crosby was co-opted on in January without an official meeting by NYCC but it is on the agenda for Feb as a LA governor nomination.

NYCC (soon to be North Yorkshire Council) are complicit with the hiding of information, and the wasting of public funds.

North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area “Our programme is prioritising work on improving early years education, boosting literacy and numeracy skills, and helping more secondary schools to become good or outstanding” – nowhere does it mention spending £250,000 on capital investment for a standalone 6th form site.

136 students on a site for 500+ with predicted failing numbers at 11-16 yet you say the numbers will increase – How?

NYCC added an extra £250,000, so this vanity project has had £500,000 of public funds, yet you say WSP can’t afford to employ teachers. Three of you can answer why this happened – Christina Zanelli, Brian Crosby MBE and Stuart Carlton – since you were on the board of NYCOA at the time. You are now doing everything in your power to protect your investment regardless of the effect on 11-16 children, now and in the future.

We request the following information be released so that the consultation, in its final week and a half, has a chance to be honest and transparent.

  1. The confidential minutes in line with the Freedom of Information Act.
  2. The agendas to ALL WSP meetings since July 2019
  3. The evidence that other options have been looked at in-depth – as requested at the public meetings.
  4. An explanation why WSP and NYCC have not publicly advertised the consultation to parents and children at both schools, all primary schools and the wider community.
  5. An explanation of when, how and in what capacity did Brian Crosby MBE join the WSP governing body.

ONLY you know why you are hiding this information, and DO NOT want a full and honest consultation. We will not compromise on our children’s education. We will keep pushing for the truth, for transparency and most of all the best education for the children of Whitby, now and in the future.

Keep Choice in Whitby and Save Eskdale.

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