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North Yorks Enquirer

Eskdale Closure: Open Letter from MIKE WARD

January 17, 2016 Letters

Eskdale Closure: Open Letter from MIKE WARD

Following the ‘shock announcement’ on Thursday 13th January 2016 that Eskdale School, under a ‘new’ scheme to ‘amalgamate’ with Caedmon College Whitby, is virtually certain to close and the Eskdale site to be sold off to housing developers, former Chair of the Eskdale School Board of Governors MIKE WARD addresses all interested parties in the following Open Letter.  Please circulate widely. Thank you.

The North Yorks Enquirer will be publishing an in-depth analysis of the more nefarious aspects of decision process in the coming days.



by the former Chair of the Eskdale School Board of Governors,



As a former Chair of Governors at Eskdale, why did my heart sink when I read the latest comments of Pete Dwyer, the NYCC Corporate Director?

Once again are the people of Whitby being ignored and let down by NYCC in an attempt to save money ?

I pray that my worst fears do not come to pass over the coming weeks/months/years.

Pete Dwyer states:

”We have been talking to the two secondary schools in Whitby for some time about the benefits of a single 11-19 offer for the Town. We want the young people of Whitby to have the best opportunities in teaching and learning to give them the greatest choices in their future lives…”

What is proposed is the creation of a split-site school which will be one of the largest 11-19 educational establishments in North Yorkshire.

The plan that appears to be on the table is nothing new, having been rejected on a number of previous occasions by both the current and previous Headteachers at Eskdale, as well as by all members of the Governing Body.

A few years ago, at a meeting of the then three Heads and the three Chairs of Governors, Mr Dwyer said that NYCC favoured the amalgamation of all three schools. The new school would be based on the Community College and Caedmon sites, with the Eskdale site being sold off. There was to be no provision for any new purpose built school as Whitby was already costing the County too much money.

Never once have any other alternative options been discussed or costed, despite numerous requests.

Am I being too cynical, and I hope I am wrong, in believing what the County really means is. . .

  • We want to prevent true parental choice for parents and pupils at 11 unless they pay or travel outside the area to increase their educational opportunities.
  • We want to do away with that very special ethos at Eskdale built up over time which has been acknowledged by pupils,parents,Inspectors and many others inside and outside the teaching profession.
  • We want to continue to reduce 6th form option choices at Caedmon College which are already one of the lowest in the County and do not have any concerns over the retention rate in the second year 6th .
  • We want to reject Eskdale’s sound business plan to move to be a financially viable 11-16 Secondary School with 550/600 pupils but rather want to save the County money by changing the contracts of some excellent teaching and administrative staff who have given years of valued service above and beyond the call of duty.       Redundancies will follow and the Eskdale site sold for housing.
  • We also want to remove anyone who has reservations about County objectives and reward, by large salary increases, the few actively assisting in making our aims a reality.

NYCC has said publicly that it would never force amalgamation or closure on Eskdale. Perhaps they should now keep to their word.

Governors of Eskdale, if you care passionately about the School, your School, and its future, as so many of us do, think carefully, listen, stick to your principles and please don’t be party to any misconceived County plan. Do not be willing partners or bow down to County pressure.

The pupils must come first.

We are talking about the future of our young people and the long term educational provision in the area.

My heartfelt sympathy & support goes to the pupils, parents and staff at Eskdale.

Mike WARD, Whitby. Sunday 17th January, 2016.

For completeness, the following ‘official’ statements appear below:




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