Today, Nigel Adams presented a petition opposing the proposed amalgamation of Brayton High and Selby High Schools to the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP. Please find below his response to the consultation on this issue:
I would like to put on record my opposition to the proposed amalgamation of Brayton High and Selby High Schools. In addition to being the Member of Parliament for the constituency, I am a former governor and pupil of Selby High School.
It is a matter of deep concern to me that despite your own website declaring that North Yorkshire County Council “are recognised as having one of the best education services in the country,” not a single secondary school in my constituency is deemed to be ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED. The two schools in question are both currently deemed to be ‘good’.
Selby High has recently attained its ‘good’ status having been previously judged a ‘satisfactory’ school. Brayton High has clearly had recent bad exam results and would likely struggle to retain its current ‘good’ rating.
I agree that something has to change at Brayton and action needs to be taken but I do not see how forcing its amalgamation with a school that has only recently moved into the ‘good’ category is the way forward. I do not see how ‘bringing the two schools together creates an opportunity to rapidly drive up standards’ as your release to parents states.
In my view, Selby High School management should be concentrating all their efforts on trying to become the first ‘outstanding’ secondary school in the district and not attempting to solve the woes of a neighbouring school with a similar rating. There is plenty of data to suggest Selby High should be concentrating on improving in certain areas particularly with regard to disadvantaged pupils.
This decision also deprives parents and guardians of any real choice in secondary school provision. I am unaware of any similar school amalgamation which has taken place in the North Yorkshire area which has delivered positive outcomes.
I do not believe that there has been sufficient exploration of the sponsored academy route for Brayton High. To my knowledge, the school governing body has only spoken to two possible sponsors, only one of which, has any experience of actually sponsoring an academy.
This is not acceptable and the way in which this process has been handled by the LEA and the timeframe it has given, makes the sponsored academy option difficult.
In fact, it appears to me that the current process is not a consultation and the LEA option of a merger with Selby High is a foregone conclusion. This should not be the case and I would request that the current process is halted to allow Brayton High governors to explore more fully the sponsored academy route.
I appreciate that North Yorkshire County Council has not embraced academies like other areas of the country, however, in the case of Ripon, where a school ‘requiring improvement’ was taken on by an academy trust, we now see after a short period of time, an impressive turnaround. Parents and pupils in Ripon now have the choice of two ‘outstanding’ schools.
There are plenty of similar examples in Yorkshire and across the country where schools requiring improvement have been academised and improvement followed.
I hope my submission is helpful and for clarity, I should also make you aware that I have informed the Secretary of State for Education about my concerns over the proposed merger.
Nigel Adams MP