An MP has welcomed confirmation that a high-performing academy chain will takeover a struggling secondary school in a North Yorkshire market town following months of uncertainty caused by protracted delays.
Easingwold School was put into special measures by Ofsted last October and Wakefield-based Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) was named as the preferred sponsor.
But the takeover was delayed as a result of ongoing talks between North Yorkshire County Council, the governors and OGAT on who takes on financial liability for building works due to the school’s deteriorating condition.
The uncertainty led to the school being dubbed an “orphan school”, a term given to schools that, at least six months after a failed inspection, still have no certainty over who will be running them, as England’s unpredictable new world of academy chains takes shape.
However, on Monday the chair of Easingwold School, Neil Hawkins, announced that OGAT will become the school’s sponsor from September 1.
Conservative Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, a former pupil and governor at Easingwold School, said: “It’s great news. It does right a wrong in many ways. We should have had this decision some months ago. Parents, teachers and the governing body have been left in limbo for a period of time.
“Outwood is a good choice. In most cases they have managed to turn schools around to great effect and I’m sure it will be the same at Easingwold. It means we can all move on.”
Mr Hollinrake, who has two children at the school, asked the education secretary, Justine Greening, about the situation during a House of Commons debate and is continuing to push for investment in the school.
He said: “I want to make sure the school goes in the right direction and I’m confident it will.”
Meanwhile, Park Grove is the latest York primary school to opt out of local authority control and become an academy. It has joined the Ebor Academy Trust, a York-based multi-academy trust comprising schools across York and North and West Yorkshire and the East Riding,