THE Government has awarded almost £9m for a school to return to the site it left just two years ago in a move that will mark a “new era” for education in a North Yorkshire market town.

Northallerton School and Sixth Form College formally became part of the Areté Learning academy trust on Sunday. The trust also runs Richmond and Stokesley Schools.

On Monday it was confirmed that the Department for Education has awarded £8.7m to Areté, which will be spent on refurbishing and extending the old Allertonshire School site on Brompton Road, Northallerton.

The work is expected to be completed within two years, when all pupils, including sixth formers, will relocate to the refurbished school.

Pupils aged 11 to 14 attended the Allertonshire until it merged with Northallerton College, which was for 14 to 19-year-olds, to create Northallerton School and Sixth Form in 2015.

The Northern Echo:

The former Allertonshire School site

Years eight and nine moved to the College site on Grammar School Lane in September 2017, followed by year seven a short time later, leaving the Allertonshire, which is on a split site across Brompton Road, empty.

Catherine Brooker, chief executive of Areté Learning Trust, said yesterday the work would see both West and East sites refurbished, as well as new buildings created. New specialist areas will include science, design technology and sixth form facilities, and there will be an extension to the gym and dining rooms, and new classrooms.

The Northern Echo:

Northallerton School and Sixth Form, on Grammar School Lane

Mrs Brooker said: “We are thrilled to welcome Northallerton School and Sixth Form College to Areté Learning Trust and we are incredibly excited about the opportunities that this government investment will give to all pupils at the school.

“I know how hard the senior leadership team and teaching staff at Northallerton have been working after a difficult few years and hope this good news marks the start of a new era. Together we are all passionate about improving the school, so that the entire community can take pride in it.”

The school was put in special measures last year after being judged inadequate in all areas by Ofsted.

Vicky Rahn, who has been acting as interim head, has been appointed as head of school following the resignation of previous headteacher Chris Drew over the summer following a period of illness. Deputy head is Andrew Wilkinson, who joins Northallerton from Wensleydale School in Leyburn.

Mrs Rahn said: “I’m looking forward to continuing the journey of improvement that is already well underway at Northallerton School and Sixth Form College. An interim visit from Ofsted has recognised the “significant progress” that has already been made in safeguarding students and improving behaviour since its last full inspection.

"Under Areté Learning Trust, Northallerton is now part of a close family of schools from within which we can draw on each other’s strengths.

"The new investment in the fabric of the school buildings will have long term and significant impact on how teaching and learning takes place. While there is more hard work to be done, this really is an exciting time for staff, pupils and the wider community of Northallerton School and Sixth Form College.”

Richmond MP Rishi Sunak, who helped secured the funding, said: “It was clear to me the school’s need for investment was essential to help the school continue its recent good progress under the guidance of interim head Vicki Rahn, her senior team, and the influence of the Arete Learning Trust.”