'Parents should have the choice', 'they have taken a brave decision' - Whitby reacts to Eskdale School closure plan

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Whitby has reacted to the shock news that Eskdale School might close later in the year.

A letter from the Whitby Secondary Partnership to parents last night (Jan 4), said that it proposes to amalgamate Eskdale with Caedmon College Whitby, from September 2023, with the new school set to operate from Caedmon’s Scoresby and Normanby sites.

The proposal would result in the technical closure of Eskdale and the school site.

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A Save Eskdale School petition, signed by 377 people so far, was started by Terri-Anne Jones, who had two children go to Eskdale when campaigners last fought to save the school from closure.

Eskdale School, Whitby.
Picture: Ceri OakesEskdale School, Whitby.
Picture: Ceri Oakes
Eskdale School, Whitby. Picture: Ceri Oakes

She said: “In 2016, North Yorkshire County Council tried to amalgamate Eskdale School and Caedmon College.

"We fought for the children to have choice, now in 2023, we find ourselves in the same position.

"Please help a second time and give our children the choice.”

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Those who have signed the petition made comments such as “the children have had enough disruption in their school careers” while another made the point that Whitby is expanding rapidly but the town’s infrastructure is not – and branded the proposed closure as “just another slap in the face for locals.”

Another comment read: “This town can and does sustain all the schools due to the number of kids here and the incoming families due to all the new homes already being built” while another added: “Whitby is getting bigger - children and parents should have the choice.”

Whitby Town Mayor, Cllr Linda Wild stressed that the proposal had been presented by the schools partnership to the county council, not vice versa, and that “they are absolutely thinking about the future of education in the town.”

"They have taken a brave decision, but they are doing it for the wellbeing and education of the children,” she said.

"Whitby is a unique town and education is important.”

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Cllr Phil Trumper, who represents the Whitby West ward of the county council, said he didn’t want youngsters to have “the appalling education” that he had in Whitby.

“Many schools across the country are struggling to make ends meet, lower student numbers are an issue, this results in less funding but costs are rising significantly,” he said.

“The new school will have a new name, a new ethos, but it is important that the best elements of both schools are retained and we ensure that our young people are offered the best education and best opportunities possible.”

He urged all parents of student at both Eskdale and Caedmon to get involved with the consultation and added: “We’ve just got to hope we get a good outcome from this.”

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Both Cllr Trumper and Cllr Neil Swannick, the Whitby Streonshalh representative on the county council, are due to present further information to Whitby Town Council on Tuesday January 10.

If approved, there would be an initial six-week period consultation period, from February 20 to March 31, where all stakeholders can comment and a public meeting will be held.