A COASTAL town's two secondary schools have agreed to federate in a move to secure the futures of them both.

Eskdale School and Caedmon College, in Whitby, have agreed to federate, following an overwhelmingly positive response from the recent consultation with staff, families and key community stakeholders.

Both governing bodies are unanimous in their belief that close collaborative working will enable the schools to move forward to create the best possible secondary education for the young people of Whitby, as well as a shared sixth form provision.

The partnership will maintain two separate schools for 11 too 16-year-olds on the Eskdale and Normanby sites, each with its own headteacher, staff, buildings and budgets. But the federation will provide wider opportunities for young people both within their studies and in extra-curricular initiatives, helping to raise standards overall.

Together the schools will be able to build on their existing individual strengths and cultures, sharing effective practice to improve the learning experiences and outcomes for the area’s young people.

It will secure the future of Eskdale School, which was threatened with closure in 2016, and plans then to merge the schools but close the Eskdale site were rejected.

“This is a great step forward for Whitby”, he said Cllr Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s executive member for education and skills. “We are very happy that the two schools have come together in the best interests of young people in the town and surrounding areas. By collaborating in this way the schools are ensuring a sustainable and exciting future for education in Whitby and the highest standards of teaching and learning.”

Federation will enable the development of shared post-16 education on the Scoresby site, improving opportunities for young people in the area to progress to higher education or to progress in their chosen careers. Current students are actively involved in shaping the building, facilities and ethos of their new sixth form centre as well as the range of academic and vocational opportunities available to them.

The move has strong backing from key stakeholders in the area, including Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, and Sir Martin Narey, chairman of the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area established by Government to raise aspirations among young people on the coast. Opportunity Area funding will contribute to a major redevelopment of Whitby’s sixth form provision.

Sir Martin said: “I’m very pleased at the progress we are making to improve social mobility prospects for children and young people on the North Yorkshire Coast. But nothing has been more important than ensuring that Whitby has a top class sixth form. I am delighted by the outstanding cooperation between Eskdale’s and Caedmon’s governing bodies and heads, working to bring the two schools together in this way.

“To ensure the new sixth form is able to match the ambitions of both schools for their students, I’m delighted that the Opportunity Area budget will be used to contribute to a major redevelopment of the new sixth form.”

Carolyn Watkinson, Eskdale’s chair of governors, sees the federation as an important step in embedding partnership working. She said: “The two governing bodies, with our headteachers, Andy Fyfe (Eskdale) and Simon Riley (Caedmon) have been working together for some time and we are already seeing the benefits that collaborative working can bring. The consolidation of our partnership by bringing the governors into a single Federation Board is a natural progression. Together we can draw on a greater pool of ideas, experiences and expertise to drive forward and create exciting prospects for all the young people in the Whitby area.”

Pen Cruz, Caedmon’s chair of governors acknowledged the positive support shown by local stakeholders and their confidence that this move is right for children and young people in the town. She said: “The Governors of both schools have been really pleased by the great support we have received from the community during the consultation period. We are confident that everyone – schools, families, local organisations and businesses - will work together to enhance the opportunities of all young people in the Whitby area”.

County Councillor David Chance, local member for Mayfield, Whitby said: “This is great news for Whitby. It has been a long journey for the schools and we are now at a point where they can move together to develop further great educational opportunity for the town’s young people.”

Robert Goodwill, MP, has stated: “This is a fantastic outcome for education in Whitby. This approach will secure the long-term future of both schools and a new jointly governed sixth form centre. The federation of the schools demonstrates a significant joint commitment to provide the best education and opportunity across the town. This is great news for the future of children and young people in the area.