June 19, 2008

Merger Consultation Launched As Resort Looks to Schools Shake-Up

A shake-up of secondary education in Scarborough loomed larger yesterday when it was announced parents, staff and the local community of Graham and Raincliffe schools were being consulted about a partnership.

School rolls are falling across the country and the seaside town is no exception. As classroom budgets depend on pupil populations, education chiefs say a joint approach between Graham and Raincliffe would provide better value for money in teaching, administration and external contracts.

The schools are next-door neighbours and have been holding talks for the last year about the benefits of a formal and equal partnership which would build on both the opportunities provided by Graham's specialist status as a science college and Raincliffe's as a business and enterprise college.

Under the arrangement the two schools would remain separate, retaining their own uniform, admissions policy, budget and buildings. However there would be one governing body and two associate heads under an executive headteacher, a post for which Graham head Garry Hancock has been nominated.

North Yorkshire County Council intends to invest heavily in new buildings for schools in the next five to 10 years as part of the Government's Building Schools for the Future initiative.

Included will be a vocational centre on the Graham/Raincliffe schools site for pupils aged 14 to 16, which would serve all Scarborough's secondary schools and offer new vocational courses in the next two to three years.

Yesterday's announcement will lead to more questions about the future of Scalby School, once the most sought after in Scarborough.

Because Scalby is no longer first choice for parents - and because pupil numbers in its catchment area have also declined - the school is under-subscribed for the first time since the abolition of the 11-plus and start of comprehensive education.

There has been speculation about a merger.

A consultation paper has been sent out to parents of Graham and Raincliffe school pupils and their feeder primary schools.

The consultation paper is available on the county council website and comments can be made at: https://forms.north



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