A NEW chairman of governors will be appointed to Ermysted's Grammar School later this year following the retirement from the board of Tony Barrett.

Mr Barrett, who has headed the Skipton school's board of governors for 12 years, announced he would be stepping down before the next academic year at the school's annual speech day.

During his time in the role, the school has seen the appointment of new headmaster, Michael Evans, who took up the post in September, 2016.

“With Mr Evans firmly ensconced, I feel school is now in a good place to face whatever challenges the future may hold,” Mr Barrett told pupils, staff, parents and fellow governors at the event last week.

“I would like to thank all those governors and staff with whom I have worked over the last 12 years for their guidance and support. It has been a great privilege to have been involved with Ermysted’s and a source of great pride to see it not only survive but thrive even when circumstances have conspired against us,” he said.

Mr Barrett is a former pupil and head boy of Ermysted’s and earlier this year was elected to Skipton Town Council as an Independent councillor.

He is also a former chairman of the Skipton Chamber of Trade and Commerce, during his time as a business owner in the town.

Headmaster Michael Evans said: “Over the past two years, Mr Barrett has been a great support, providing guidance and humour in equal measure. The role of a headteacher is a complicated one. It’s not always possible to predict where the next challenge will spring from and the ability to pick up a phone and tap into his wisdom and decades of institutional knowledge has been invaluable."

He added: “Mr Barrett has led the school through a challenging period in its history and he should take great satisfaction that the school is now in such a strong position.”

The outgoing chairman of governors also praised the headmaster and his senior leadership team for ‘weathering the financial storm’ experienced by recent government cuts in education funding. Mr Barrett said: “Through a determined focus to keep staffing and curriculum in alignment and the herculean efforts of the Senior Leadership Team, especially from Mr Evans, the finances have been brought under control while simultaneously maintaining improvement of all aspects of the school even in the absence of a deputy head.

"I am pleased to report that the school’s finances have been stabilised to such an extent that this gap in the school’s management will be filled for the next academic year by the appointment of Pippa Davies as deputy head.”

Prizes at speech day were presented this year by Stuart Clarkson, a governor and former pupil of the school who is also Secretary of the Ermysted’s Old Boys’ Society.

Mr Clarkson, who lives in Silsden, now works as a journalist and newsreader for BBC Radio 5 live. He spoke about his time at Ermysted’s in the 1990s and encouraged current pupils to ‘make a name for themselves’ in school by finding something to excel in.