Education chief praises school for impressive turn-around

From left: Lisa Remmer, chair of governors, MP Robert Goodwill, headteacher John Senior, Education Secretary Michael Gove and deputy headteacher James Pape.
From left: Lisa Remmer, chair of governors, MP Robert Goodwill, headteacher John Senior, Education Secretary Michael Gove and deputy headteacher James Pape.

George Pindar School was praised by the Education Secretary for boosting its educational standards when he visited Scarborough.

Michael Gove joined the town’s MP Robert Goodwill for a special meeting with staff and governors at the Eastfield school, which saw a wide range of issues discussed.

Pindar was held up as a shining example of how a failing school could be transformed as a result of hard work by everyone involved.

Mr Goodwill, who organised the visit, said: “Pindar is an excellent example of a school that had been falling behind, but in the last five years the headmasters have really taken the bull by the horns and turned it around. That is something that Michael Gove recognised as well.

“I was encouraged by the commitment that the school obviously has to raising standards. It’s no secret that the catchment area that Pindar has is a challenging one in some cases. They are ensuring that despite some children coming from difficult backgrounds, they are delivering the goods.”

The meeting provided an opportunity for Mr Gove to discuss a variety of issues, including his views on academy schools and ideas on modernising the educational system.

John Senior, headteacher of George Pindar School, said: “We talked about the need to support coastal schools, many of which face similar challenges, by fostering greater national and regional collaboration and helping to develop a greater sense of community aspiration.

“We also discussed his views of academy schools, the importance of smaller schools, particularly in rural counties like North Yorkshire, and we ‘suggested’ that the speed and range of new initiatives and ideas being proposed by Mr Gove and the Department for Education was distracting schools from their core purpose of providing the best possible outcomes for their young people.

“It was a very open conversation. While I am sure we won’t have changed Mr Gove’s views, I would like to think the visit by him and Mr Goodwill is a very real acknowledgement of both the progress George Pindar School has made and the hard work by staff, students and parents and carers that has made it possible.”

Mr Goodwill described the meeting as “very positive”, adding: “It was a very productive meeting and some vaild points were raised. The school is looking at how it can work together with the Government to build on its achievements so far.”