A SCHOOL put in special measures last year has moved to reassure the parents of more than 1,100 students that it is not closing and is making rapid progress while working towards becoming an academy.

Northallerton School and Sixth Form underwent a major shake up in 2018 after being put in special measures following a highly critical Ofsted report.

In a letter to parents this week the school scotched concerns that it was shutting explaining comments on the Department for Education website saying “Proposal to Close” were part of the technical process of the school becoming an academy.

They also said new principal Chris Drew has been unwell and is unlikely to return to school until early May with the contracts of key staff members extended to support the acting principal.

Jan Linsley, chair of Northallerton School interim executive board, said: “Northallerton School is making rapid progress and moving forward positively under its new leadership and governance. The school, supported by North Yorkshire County Council, is following due process to becoming an academy and member of Arete Learning Trust later in the year.

“Vicki Rahn, vice principal, is currently leading the school and driving forward with the school’s improvement plan, working closely with the IEB. Under Vicki’s leadership Northallerton School continues to make progress in the improvement of teaching and learning and revisions in the curriculum which are contributing to students’ personal, social and cultural development.

“According to Ofsted in a recent monitoring visit, the school is taking effective action towards the removal of special measures and leaders at all levels have high ambitions for the school and are committed to making necessary changes. Staff work hard and student behaviour has improved. We have also established an inter-house system which is enriching the life of the school and contributing to an increasing number of events.”

One parent who asked not to be named said: ”The school does seem to be making good progress, we have to support what the teachers are doing, it is very important for our children. There was concern in the town about this “proposal to close” statement on the DfE website but that is obviously part of this process to join the Arete Trust, hopefully it will work out.”

The Arete Trust was created when Stokesley School converted to an academy in 2015 and now also includes Richmond School. Stokesley was rated ‘requires improvement’ after an Ofsted inspection in November 2018, Richmond is rated ‘good’.