Two of Scarborough secondary schools will become academies when pupils return after the half-term break on Monday.
Following a number of delays regarding financial issues over the last year, Graham School and George Pindar School will both formally join Hope Learning Trust.
Principals have also now been appointed for both schools. Emma Robins, the current acting head at Graham School has been appointed as Graham’s new principal, and Lesley Welsh, who is currently deputy headteacher at Graham School, will take the helm at George Pindar School. They will take up their new positions after Easter.
The Hope Learning Trust has been working with the schools since early 2018 with the full support of colleagues from North Yorkshire County Council, providing support for teaching and learning and making improvements to processes, procedures, behaviour management and ensuring that safeguarding and security were priorities.
An executive lead, Helen Dowds, has been put in place to lead the transformation of the schools and subject specialist staff from the trust have been working with school staff to raise standards.
The Hope Learning Trust secured funding to support the conversions through an MDIF (MAT Development and Improvement Fund) grant alongside substantial capital finance from the Department for Education to the tune of £3.4 million, which will enable them to address priority building and site issues at both schools.
Brian Crosby, chief executive officer of Hope Learning Trust, said “We are delighted to welcome Graham and George Pindar Schools in to the Hope family. We would like to thank all parties for their patience and support over the last year, the staff at the schools for their ongoing commitment and colleagues at NYCC for their advice and counsel.
“The education of the 1,700 young people at Graham and George Pindar is of paramount importance to us and now the schools are formally part of Trust, we can move forward with improving both schools.
"We are fortunate that within each school there is already a core team of dedicated staff and we will be working with them to ensure they get the professional support they need to do their jobs effectively.
“We can’t promise that improvements will happen overnight, but what we can assure the community of, is that we will follow good educational practice and tested strategies which will see the schools move towards being highly-regarded educational institutions.
"We already have members of our school improvement team working with many departments improving and developing standards in the classrooms; this will continue and grow further now that academisation is formally in place.
“As a Trust, we are looking forward to working with the other secondary schools in Scarborough and with Graham and George Pindar’s feeder primary schools. We will also be working closely with the North Yorkshire Coast Opportunity Area Board, as part of which, we hope to gain funding for an Alternative Provision for students for whom mainstream provision is not appropriate.”
Hope Learning Trust, York, is a Church of England trust established to bring together church and community schools. IWith the addition of the two Scarborough secondary schools, it will operates nine schools.