Market towns ‘need new schools’

SWATHES of new housing in North Yorkshire’s market towns and surrounding villages could trigger the need for additional schools, councillors will be told tomorrow.

Plans for around 1,500 new homes in Malton and Norton are likely to make two new primary schools necessary.

North Yorkshire County Council is also looking at whether the demand for primary places that will be generated by 750 new homes in Pickering can be accommodated within existing schools or new sites will be required.

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A report to be considered by councillors tomorrow suggests proposed housebuilding in Kirkbymoorside could make it necessary to extend Kirkbymoorside Community Primary School.

But schools in Helmsley and villages in Ryedale should be able to cope with the anticipated rise in their numbers, it says.

Pete Dwyer, North Yorkshire County Council’s director for children and young people’s services, said there is likely to be a shortfall of 284 school places at Malton and 131 at Norton.

Malton County Primary School has some limited scope for expansion on its existing site and officers are exploring the situation with the school.

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Norton CP School has recently undergone some expansion, funded by NYCC and the school, but Mr Dwyer said: “Further growth would not be feasible on what is a tight existing site area.”

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is already a full school, he says and future expansion is being considered.

At Pickering, councillors will be told, 750 homes are due to be built which will mean a shortfall of 155 pupil places, 57 for infants and 98 for junior age children. St Joseph’s RC School is expected to have very limited surplus capacity.

An assessment is being made of the scope for expansion at Pickering’s infant and junior schools and some additional capacity could be added, said Mr Dwyer.

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“We continue to work with the school and Ryedale District Council to determine whether or not there will be a requirement to provide a new school site in Pickering.”

Next week, the county council’s executive will consider proposals to merge Caedmon School and Whitby Community College.

The move would see Caedmon School technically close although the site would continue to be used as part of the new single school.

Caedmon currently caters for children aged 11 to 14 while Whitby Community is for pupils aged 14 to 19.

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A report to be considered by the council’s executive says that the two schools have asked for the merger to be approved to help raise standards and to remove the need for children to make a “transition” from one to the other.

Academic research suggests that moves from one school to another can slow children’s progress.

“Bringing the two schools together as one would enable the combined expertise of the staff to be deployed more efficiently for all pupils.

“It would allow the implementation of a single curriculum and timetable and remove transition from Caedmon to Whitby Community College at age 14. These measures would make improvements in standards more achievable and more practical to sustain,” the report says.

School standards watchdog Ofsted assessed Whitby Community College as ‘good’ when inspectors visited last October.

But Caedmon School was ordered to improve after an inspection in January.