Information on a proposal to amalgamate Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School from 1 September 2024.
This paper sets out details of our proposal, at the request of the federated Governing Board of the Whitby Secondary Partnership, to amalgamate Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School. This would result in the technical closure of Eskdale School and the Eskdale site, and an increase in the planned admission number for Caedmon College Whitby as the amalgamated school, with effect from 1 September 2024.
There is an opportunity to rename Caedmon College Whitby as part of this reorganisation process, and this is something governors propose to do ahead of the amalgamated school’s proposed opening on 1 September 2024. For this reason, this document will refer to Caedmon College Whitby, from 1 September 24, as the ‘amalgamated school’.
We would welcome your views on this proposal. This paper sets out the background to the proposal and how you can make your views known.
There will be two public consultation meetings at Whitby Pavilion, West Cliff, Whitby, YO21 3EN on Wednesday 8 March at 12.30pm and 6.30pm. The same information will be presented at both meetings. As space may be limited, please only attend one meeting.
The Whitby Secondary Partnership was formed in July 2019, bringing together the governing bodies of the two secondary schools in the town, Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School, to form a single Governing Board responsible for both schools. Eskdale School is an 11-16 school and Caedmon College Whitby is an 11-18 school. The Whitby Sixth Form, although technically part of Caedmon College Whitby, serves both schools. An Executive Headteacher is responsible for both schools and works with two Heads of School and two Senior Leadership Teams.
Eskdale School operates from a single site on the east side of Whitby. Caedmon College Whitby’s 11-16 provision mainly operates from the Normanby Site (formerly Whitby Community College) and the Whitby Sixth Form is based on the Scoresby Site (formerly Caedmon School), both on the west side of the town.
In December 2022, the Governing Board of the Whitby Secondary Partnership decided to ask us to commence a consultation process on their proposal to amend the structure of the Whitby Secondary Partnership. Their initial proposal was that Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School amalgamate from 1 September 2023. Following further consideration, the Governing Board requested, and we have agreed, to consult on the amalgamation taking place from 1 September 2024.
The Governing Board set out three linked factors as the reasons for their proposal to amalgamate Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School: low pupil numbers, significant financial challenges at both schools and an imperative to give the best education and curriculum to the young people of Whitby.
More details about these are set out below.
The 11 to 18 capacity within the Whitby Secondary Partnership schools is approximately 2,080 school places. Numbers of secondary aged pupils have been falling steadily across the catchment area over the last ten years (see Table 1 below). There are currently 406 pupils on roll at Eskdale, with a capacity of 550, and 783 pupils on roll at Caedmon College, with a capacity of 1,530. There is therefore a surplus of over 40 per cent of places in Whitby.
|Eskdale||Caedmon 11-16||Whitby Sixth Form 16-18||Caedmon 11-18||Whitby Total 11-16||Whitby Total 11-18|
The Federation currently operates two separate budgets. Operating two schools across three sites brings a significant financial cost. Both school budgets have numerous financial challenges that need to be addressed. Each school is subject to a Notice of Financial Concern. This notice is issued by the Local Authority to governing boards where, in the opinion of officers, actions need to be taken to safeguard the financial position of the local authority or the school.
Under Local Management of Schools, schools are responsible for their own budgets. It is for heads and governors to determine at school level how to optimise the use of resources and maximise value for money.
Standards and curriculum
The Governing Board views the proposal as offering the opportunity to deliver a broader curriculum offer with wider opportunities and development of skills to meet the need of students and the local community. They believe that any strategy to address the low pupil numbers and financial challenges without moving to become one school across two sites would hamper educational and curriculum improvement. Continuing to spend disproportionate amounts of their budget on premises costs across three sites would divert valuable budget away from the delivery of high-quality education.
Caedmon College Whitby was last inspected by Ofsted in February 2022, this was an initial (section 8) inspection. The reported outcome was that there has been no change to the school’s overall judgement of good, however the evidence gathered suggested that the inspection grade might not be as high if a full inspection were carried out at that time, and so the next inspection will therefore be a graded (section 5) inspection. The previous full Ofsted inspection took place in February 2017 which judged all outcomes to be good.
Eskdale School was last inspected by Ofsted in November 2022. The reported outcome was that there has been no change to the school’s overall judgement of good as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection, however, the evidence gathered suggested that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now. The next inspection will therefore be a graded inspection The previous full Ofsted inspection took place in November 2017 which judged all outcomes to be good.
The Governing Board has asked us to consult on the following proposal:
- That the Local Authority should amalgamate Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School from 1 September 2024.
- This would result in the technical closure of Eskdale School.
- The Eskdale School site is declared surplus to school requirements and is returned to Local Authority management. Amalgamation is a proposal to technically close one school (in this Eskdale School) and enlarge an existing school (in this case Caedmon College Whitby), to accommodate all pupils. The remaining school would retain its original registration number and age range. There is an opportunity to rename Caedmon College Whitby as part of this reorganisation process, and this is something governors propose to do ahead of the amalgamated school’s proposed opening on 1 September 2024.
Education and curriculum improvement
Amalgamation on to two sites would offer the opportunity to redirect resources from maintaining premises to delivering the curriculum.
Initial curriculum modelling suggests that the amalgamated school would have seven to eight classes of around 23-24 pupils in each year group within Key Stage 3, and nine classes in each year group within Key Stage 4.
The amalgamated school would operate a two-week timetable based on 50 periods, as is currently the practice at both schools. With amalgamation, the Ofsted judgement attached to the school that is technically closing is effectively lost, and in future the enlarged school would receive a single inspection and judgement.
Whitby Secondary Partnership has produced a vision for the newly amalgamated school - A Quality First Education for Whitby. This can be viewed on the Whitby Secondary Partnership website.
Existing pupils at both schools would automatically be placed on roll at the amalgamated school.
Parents/carers of current Year 6 children who are due to start secondary education in Whitby in September 2023 do not need to take any action regarding their existing school admissions application.
It is anticipated that the final decision on the amalgamation proposal will be made in June 2023 in advance of the secondary school application round for parents/carers of current Year 5 pupils due to transfer to secondary school in September 2024.
The existing shared catchment area of Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale Schools would continue to be used for the amalgamated school.
The proposal would require an increase in the published admissions number (PAN) for the amalgamated school. The PAN is the number of school places that the admission authority must offer in the age group at which pupils will normally be admitted to the school (Year 7). The current PAN for Eskdale School is 110 and for Caedmon College Whitby is 184. It is proposed to increase the PAN for the newly amalgamated school to 240.
Our Admissions Team is always happy to give advice to parents. Please contact email@example.com.
The Governing Board is clear that whilst the amalgamation would result in the technical closure of Eskdale School, it will provide opportunities for staff across both schools. The amalgamation would involve the creation of a new staffing model to fit the needs of a newly enlarged, amalgamated school.
Detailed work will be undertaken by Governors and school leaders to ensure that the staffing of the proposed amalgamated school is aligned to the school’s curriculum vision and intent which will involve a detailed review of staff structures across the federation. Where efficiencies involving any change to staffing may be made across the federation, or as a newly amalgamated school, these would be subject to a separate internal consultation.
The school sites
It is proposed to operate the newly amalgamated school from September 2024 on two sites. The Normanby site would mainly be used for 11-16 pupils currently accommodated on this site and at Eskdale School site, and the Scoresby site, would mainly be used for the sixth form.
Given current pupil number forecasts, including the likely demand from new housing, there would appear to be sufficient secondary places available in the amalgamated 11-18 school, and sufficient space to accommodate all 11-16 pupils on the Normanby site.
As part of the proposal the Governors are declaring that the Eskdale site is surplus to educational requirements and the site would be returned to NYCC management. Decisions about the future use of the Eskdale site would be taken after determination of the amalgamation proposal. These would need to include consideration of the Eskdale Community 3G flood-lit pitch on the school site.
Choice of Normanby site
Based on projected pupil numbers, the school leadership envisages a pupil roll of approximately 1,050 11-16 pupils in the short term. This is projected to decrease to approximately 950 based on the number of current primary pupils. School leaders’ vision, should the amalgamation proceed, is that ideally all 11-16 pupils would be educated on the same site. This would support high quality education provision and efficient use of resources, which could be easily accessed by all pupils.
The only one of the three sites which offers an opportunity to accommodate all 11-16 pupils on one site is the Normanby (part of Caedmon College Whitby, and formerly Whitby Community College) site.
The buildings on the site have capacity for 1,125 pupils and as such would not have space to accommodate the current Sixth Form numbers in addition to the 11-16 cohort. Moreover, the Governors want to develop the Sixth Form and increase the number of pupils. In addition, the Normanby site alone would not have the extent of sports fields recommended for a school of that size.
Choice of Scoresby site
The Governors believe that the best choice for accommodating the Sixth Form and providing efficient access to sports fields is to locate the Sixth Form on the Scoresby (part of Caedmon College Whitby and formerly Caedmon School) site.
The use of this site for the Sixth Form and sports fields rather than the Eskdale site has clear benefits:
- It is currently operating as the Sixth Form College and the facilities have been adapted specifically for that purpose.
- The Normanby and Scoresby sites are only 0.3 miles apart whereas the Eskdale site is 1 mile from Scoresby and 1.3 miles from the Normanby site. This makes the playing fields and all weather pitch at the Scoresby site much more accessible to pupils being educated on the Normanby site. In addition, for staff moving between the sites the travel time would be kept to a minimum.
- The Scoresby site is located in the centre of the town it is approximately 1.5 miles walking distance from furthest housing to the North-west of Whitby on Mulgrave Road and approximately 1.1 miles from the furthest housing to the South-east on Stainsacre Lane, whereas the Eskdale site is very close the housing on Stainsacre Lane but 2.4 miles from that on Mulgrave Road.
Each site has a range of investment requirements arising from property condition. These investment requirements are broadly comparable across the three sites:
- Eskdale £905,000: approximately £177 per m2
- Scoresby £750,000: approximately £157 per m2
- Normanby £1,500,000: approximately £172 per m2
If this amalgamation proposal proceeds, then we will work with school leaders and governors to review investment requirements.
We do not hold any information about the market value of any of the three sites. This is because they are currently operational school sites, and we do not routinely seek market valuations for properties that are not currently being considered for disposal. In the event that educational provision is to be discontinued at any of the sites, then we have a detailed process to consider alternative uses for the site or whether the site is to be disposed of. Any disposal would require the permission of the Secretary of State for Education. The value of sites are not considered in the decision making for this amalgamation proposal.
Amalgamating the two schools to provide education across two sites rather than three would lead to savings on the premises costs at the Eskdale site. School budgets are funded largely by pupil numbers so the amalgamated school would have a larger combined funding allocation. However, the combined funding allocation for the amalgamated school would be smaller than the funding allocations for the two separate schools because there would be the loss of lump sum related funding, although transitional funding will be provided during the initial 19-month period of the amalgamation to assist with managing the reduction in this funding.
The estimated premises costs, excluding Rates, of £297,000 associated with the operation of the Eskdale site would be saved on the closure of the site. It is anticipated that the additional pupils on the Caedmon College Normanby site would result in additional premises costs associated with utilities and cleaning of £84,000 for that site. On this basis, the indicative net saving on premises costs in respect of the amalgamation of the two schools is £213,000 on a full financial year basis.
The school lump sum funding of £128,000, which is received by each school in their annual funding allocation, would cease for the Eskdale School budget - as with other Eskdale School funding allocations - on the amalgamation of the two schools. However, transitional funding protection arrangements are provided which would allow for the balance of the lump sum to be retained from the point of amalgamation for the remainder of the financial year that amalgamation takes place and provide an additional £89.6k in addition to the £128,000 school lump sum funding received through the amalgamated school budget in the next financial year after the point of amalgamation.
The impact of the lump sum reduction and the closure of the Eskdale site would result in an ongoing estimated annual net saving of £85,000. The figures are based on the latest school financial forecasts and the 2023-24 Department for Education (DfE) National Funding Formula (NFF) funding allocations and are subject to any national changes in Department for Education funding policy.
Further additional savings are expected to be able to be made through efficiencies in staffing, other operating costs and purchasing of goods and services by the amalgamated school over time.
Budget forecast for amalgamated school
The forecast financial position for the proposed amalgamated school is detailed in the table below:
|2024/25 £'000||2025/26 £'000||2026/27 £'000|
|Income (including Government funding and local income generated by the school)||7,331.7||8,326.3||8,066.9|
|Expenditure (including costs associated with staffing, premises and supplies and services)||7,102.8||8,179.6||8,310.3|
|In year financial position||228.9||146.7||-243.4|
|Balance brought forward||-113.8||115.1||261.8|
|Balance carried forward||115.1||261.8||18.4|
The 2024/25 financial year forecast reflects the individual school budget for Caedmon College for the period April 2024 to August 2024 and the proposed amalgamated school budget for the period September 2024 to March 2025.
Budget forecasts for separate schools
The latest individual school financial forecasts for Caedmon College and Eskdale School are detailed in the tables below:
Caedmon College Individual School Budget:
|2022/23 £'000||2023/24 £'000||2024/25 £'000||
|Income (including Government funding and local income generated by the school)||5,500.5||5,726.4||5,793.8||5,982.8||5,974.0|
|Expenditure (including costs associated with staffing, premises and supplies and services)||5,373.1||5,573.2||5,756.2||5,929.0||6,062.9|
|In year financial position||127.4||153.2||37.6||53.8||-88.9|
|Balance brought forward||-394.4||-267.0||-113.8||-76.2||-22.4|
|Balance carried forward||-267.0||-113.8||-76.2||-22.4||-111.3|
Eskdale School Individual School Budget:
|2022/23 £'000||2023/24 £'000||2024/25 £'000||
|Income (including Government funding and local income generated by the school)||3,222.7||2,979.5||2,735.2||2,540.9||2,377.8|
|Expenditure (including costs associated with staffing, premises and supplies and services)||3,295.1||2,861.3||2,915.5||2,987.0||3,026.6|
|In year financial position||-72.4||118.2||-180.3||-446.1||-648.8|
|Balance brought forward||44.2||-28.2||90.0||-90.3||-536.4|
|Balance carried forward||-28.2||90||-90.3||-536.4||-1185.2|
Transition planning will focus on curriculum planning, staffing structures, finances and ensuring a smooth transition for students, particularly the most vulnerable. It will build on the joint working already established between the two schools. Elements of the curriculum in Eskdale and Caedmon College are already similar, however the proposed amalgamation would provide greater opportunities for curriculum development with a broader, more relevant curriculum being available to all students.
The school would be better able to ensure that all students are taught by experienced subject specialist staff who can share and grow their passion and enthusiasm for their subject. It is a key priority of the newly amalgamated school to deliver curriculum pathways that will enable students to continue study through year 7 to year 13, including by establishing clearer progression routes from options at KS4, into KS5 and by offering competitive and relevant subjects with links to not only higher education, but also to apprenticeships and local business providers.
A series of Frequently Asked Questions will be issued and regularly updated during the consultation period and can be viewed on the Whitby Secondary Partnership website.
This website also includes the vision for the newly amalgamated school - A Quality First Education for Whitby.
Further data on pupil numbers and future forecasts and school capacities can be found on our Current Consultations page.
What happens next?
Your views about this proposal are welcomed.
Have your say on proposals to amalgamate Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School
Responses to the consultation will be published on our website. Your personal details, and those of others you may refer to, will not be published.
The closing date for responses is 5pm on Friday, 31 March 2023.
Paper responses should be returned to us at the address below:
Caedmon College Whitby and Eskdale School
North Yorkshire County Council
All responses to the consultation received by this date will be considered by our Executive on 18 April 2023.
If our Executive decides to proceed with the proposal, then statutory notices would be published in the local press on 27 April 2023. These notices would provide a further four weeks for representations to be made, by 25 May 2023.
A final decision would then be scheduled to be taken by our Executive on 20 June 2023. If agreed, the schools would amalgamate from 1 September 2024.
Anticipated key dates
All dates are subject to approvals at each stage.
|Consultation opens||20 February 2023|
|Public meetings||8 March at 12:30pm and 6:30pm|
|Consultation closes||31 March 2023|
|North Yorkshire Council's Executive consider consultation response||18 April 2023|
|Statutory Notices published (four weeks for representations to be made)||27 April to 25 May 2023|
|Final decision by North Yorkshire Council’s Executive||20 June 2023|
|Proposed date from which Eskdale School would technically close and the newly named amalgamated school would begin to operate||31 August 2024 and 1 September 2024|
On 1 April 2023, we and the seven district and borough councils in North Yorkshire will become one – North Yorkshire Council. North Yorkshire Council will be the decision maker for any decisions taken after 1 April 2023.