Schools to merge as one

Drop Folder News. Kevin Allen.'Graham School exterior..'0939102g.
Drop Folder News. Kevin Allen.'Graham School exterior..'0939102g.

TWO Scarborough secondaries are set to become a fully unified school in a radical education overhaul.

Graham School and Raincliffe School – currently part of a federated partnership – have announced new plans to create a single school.

The move would ultimately see the closure of Raincliffe School with all pupils and staff transferring to an expanded Graham site.

Education chiefs from North Yorkshire County Council are consulting over the proposals with a decision expected ahead of the new academic year in September.

Garry Hancock, executive headteacher for both Graham and Raincliffe School, which have 1,303 and 325 pupils on their registers respectively, said the changes would herald a new and exciting chapter in education provision for Scarborough students. The changes would be implemented in two phases with Year Seven and Eight pupils to be housed in a lower school structure in Raincliffe School from September this year, with remaining students taught in an upper school on the Graham site. The schools will also operate with shared staff, a single designated lunch-break and one week timetable and curriculum for all students.

However, if the proposals for a single school are passed, all students would move to an expanded and enlarged Graham School campus - which could happen as soon as September 2012.

Mr Hancock said: “We have seen the benefits of working very closely together and this structure allows us to work even closer together on a shared campus.

“It provides a small school ethos in Year Seven and Year Eight and gives increased flexibility and space in Years Nine to Eleven.

“We will be able to further develop small school care with large school opportunity where we can take full advantage of all the facilities and resources the shared campus offers.

“Having the lower and upper school sections will have a significant positive impact and benefits for the children and be a fresh start for everyone across the two schools.

“It is a real positive move for the community and a step forward to shape the future of our students.

“The single school would continue to operate over both sites in the short and medium term and in the longer term, when capital is available, it is intended all students would relocate to an expanded single school on the Graham site.”

Mr Hancock said the formulation of a lower school would have tremendous benefits for youngsters through the generation of a “small school culture.”

He added: “The Year Seven and Eight pupils would have their own services and keep the same Head of Year too.

“By focusing on the provision for the two year groups on one site, greater care can be afforded to meeting their individual needs and create a small school with a caring ethos, while instilling high expectations and a drive for success which will continue through into the upper school.

Cynthia Welbourn, the council’s corporate director for the children and young people’s service, said: “We believe the move to one school would be very positive for all involved – students, their families, staff and governors.

“The schools believe that by bringing together leadership, staff and students in this way they can help to raise student achievement further by taking full advantage of all the facilities and resources a shared campus offers.

“However, we want to hear the views of everybody who may be affected, before a decision is made.”

A number of consultation evenings for families to discuss the plans have been scheduled for next week.

The first takes place on Monday, March 14 families for parents of current Year Seven pupils at Raincliffe School, with another set for the following evening at the same venue for families of children in Year Eight to Year Ten at the Lady Edith’s Drive school.

Families of Year Six pupils set to make the step up to secondary school in September can meet on Wednesday, March 16, again at Raincliffe School. All meetings start at 6.30pm.

Graham School will host an evening for its current Year Eight to Ten students on Thursday, March 17 from 6.30pm.