19 April 2024

Withernsea High School to explore academy plans

Withernsea High School has written to parents and carers to inform them about proposals to turn it into an academy.

In a letter that went out on Tuesday, January 3, head teacher Mark Crofts said that, for the past two years, the school had been in talks with colleagues at Wilberforce College around collaboration, with a view to broadening opportunities for pupils and strengthening their learning experiences.

Saying he recognised the challenges of the school’s geographical isolation, Mr Crofts wrote: “More recently, we have explored the possibilities that forming a multi-academy trust (MAT) together would bring. A MAT is an organisation with several educational establishments working closely together as one legal entity.

“We believe that these opportunities for students, staff and community are significant, so much so that the governors are considering academisation and forming a MAT with Wilberforce College.

“Our governors have been clear that we will only be part of a MAT and work with schools or colleges whose values fully align with our own. In Wilberforce College we have seen a strong and equal partner, who indeed share our values and want the same for young people, families, and communities within our area. We are also both committed to retaining what is so special about our school and college.

“We are not complacent about the hard work required to ensure Withernsea High School’s continued success. Our commitment to inspiring confident young people to thrive in a changing world is what has driven this collaboration so far.”

Mr Crofts stressed that the consultation was, at this stage, informal, and any final decision to academise and form a MAT would be taken by the governing body and based on the best interests of students, staff and the wider community.

He also acknowledged that the news was likely to raise questions and concerns among parents and the wider community, and is therefore inviting people to an information evening on Thursday, January 19. Among those present will be members of the school’s senior leadership team and governing body, as well as Colin Peakes, principal of Wilberforce College.

Anyone who is planning on attending is asked to email [email protected], confirming the number of people going, by no later than Tuesday, January 10.

Mr Crofts added: “As always, your feedback is essential and I sincerely hope that you will engage with us, asking any questions you might have, sharing any aspirations you have for our students and community, as well as raising any concerns.”

One parent, who did not want to be named, said she initially found the idea of an academy concerning, but would welcome more information. She added: “With my son going through his GSCEs at the moment, and there currently being no sixth-form provision at the high school, I would be interested to know how this might change things.”