Seven school governors quit over academy-status plans

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SEVEN members of a historic Yorkshire school’s governing body have resigned over plans to turn it into an academy and hit out at the move which they claim is ignoring the will of the local community.

The resigning governors at Prince Henry’s Grammar School, in Otley, have criticised the decision to push ahead with academy status in an open letter following a narrow vote in favour of opting out of local council control.

The school’s governing body voted by 10 votes to nine to convert to an academy, which will be funded directly by the Department for Education. The seven people who resigned, however, claimed the vote would have been tied if another governor, who was away, had been able to attend.

Their letter said: “It was widely known that the governing body was split.

“There were 20 governors during the seven months of the study at no time did a majority of the governors support academy status. . . The stalemate at the governing body meant even greater attention should have been paid to the views of the parents and the community. The feedback from these groups has been overwhelmingly negative, as indeed was the unanimous view from our town council. How then can we have a situation where Prince Henry’s is now to become an academy.”

The school’s headteacher Janet Sheriff said legal advice had been taken to ensure the “democratic process” had been properly followed in passing the academy vote.

She said the majority of governors who voted in favour of the move had done so to “maintain all that is good about Prince Henry’s and to help us achieve our vision of further improvement.”

The school was founded more than 400 years ago under Royal Charter.