New Skipton head sets timetable for school's improvement

Craven Herald: Aireville School Aireville School

AIREVILLE School should be out of special measures and could see even more rapid improvement within two years.

Wendy Hamilton, the Skipton school's principal designate, said she would expect Aireville - which is aiming to become an academy - to be out of special measures in 18 months and judged on its progress so far, capable of greater improvement.

It would, however automatically cease being in special measures if it gained planned academy status in September.

The second of two meetings held last week at the school for parents, and interested public, heard Aireville was subject to termly inspections by government inspectors and that the latest report was due out in about a week's time.

Antony Booth, chairman of governors and a parent of a pupil at the school, said he had seen 'massive' improvement in the last six months, since the school had been placed into special measures by government Ofsted inspectors in May last year.

Mr Booth said a big indication had been a improvement in the school's attendance record - which he said indicated that pupils were enjoying coming to school.

The school had also been 'eliminating inadequate teaching' after learning it would be running at a budget deficit.

It had been overstaffed, but would be adequately staffed at the start of the new term and if it ended up attracting more students, would receive more funding.

If approved by the secretary of state, the school will become an academy in September at the start of the new school year. The meeting was told although not a foregone conclusion, it was very unlikely that a school so far along the process would not be converted into an academy.

It would be given a new start, a new name - The Skipton Academy - and all pupils would be given a new uniform, with new logo, provided free of charge.

As an academy, the school would be taken out of the control of North Yorkshire County Council and become the responsibility of the newly formed Craven Educational Trust, sponsored by Craven College, and have the support of South Craven School and The Red Kite Teaching Schools Alliance.

Robert Bellfield, principal of The Craven College, and a member of the board of the Craven Trust, said the college and the school already had a good relationship with many pupils moving onto the college for further education.

He added that the college had a proven record of successfully running its own affairs.

Ms Hamilton, currently headteacher at Stamford Queen Eleanor School in Lincolnshire, said she was 'proud and privileged' to be the new academy principal and one of her objectives was for it to be 'outstanding' by 2020.

She said she wanted parents to know their child's education was in good hands. She was proud of the fact she knew the name of every student at her current school, and would do the same in Skipton.

"I want this school to be the best it can be , for students to be proud of where they are and for the people of Skipton to be proud of it," she said.

The school is currently consulting on its conversion to an academy, people can comment via its website before Friday, June 27.

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