The governing bodies of the Church of England primary schools of Kirkby Fleetham and East Cowton have taken the decision to federate from 1st September 2015 in order to strengthen the two schools and to maintain high standards of teaching and learning.
Governors of the two schools held a formal consultation on the proposal, including a number of public meetings, and have agreed the move after overwhelming backing from parents, staff and the local community.
Under this federation the schools retain their own budgets and buildings and remain part of their local community. But they have a shared leadership and management and a single governing body working in the best interests of both schools and their pupils.
Kirkby Fleetham and East Cowton have worked very closely together for some time. At the end of this term Ruth Smith, the current head of East Cowton, will be leaving to take up a role in teacher training and from September the two schools will have a shared headteacher, Helen Dudman, Kirkby Fleetham’s present head.
Staff, governors and the community agreed that federation will bring about key benefits for children at both schools in terms of educational and social experiences and more targeted teaching, and for staff in terms of professional development. It also means the schools can further develop their joint curriculum and share to make best use of their resources, which is an advantage in the current tough financial climate.
Children at the two schools already enjoy opportunities to work together. For example during the Tour de France children worked on a joint project with a local artist, and enjoyed a day cycling at Croft circuit. There are future opportunities planned and joint projects to extend their learning and their peer group .
Headteacher Helen Dudman said: “This is an exciting development for the two communities. The federation will serve to combine the strengths of both schools and will widen opportunities for pupils in terms of access to more specialist teaching and social interaction.”
“The local authority has given its full backing to this formal federation because it makes sense for the pupils of East Cowton and Kirkby Fleetham in every way,” said Pete Dwyer, North Yorkshire’s Corporate Director for the Children and Young People’s Service. “We believe this is the best solution to ensure a robust and sustainable future for these schools which give great service to their rural communities.”