Academy status bid delayed for Harrogate High School

A PLANNED change in status at Harrogate High School has been put on hold.

The school had been due to convert to academy status, under the umbrella of Outwood Grange Academy in Wakefield, from the beginning of term earlier this month.

But the move has been delayed by a hold-up in the legal process of converting to academy status, although the school has told parents it is still committed to making the transition.

Harrogate High School principal Andrew Bayston said: “The process is still active.

“The governing body is pursuing discussions with all our partners, including the local authority and Outwood Grange Academy Trust.

“We still see ourselves as fully in partnership with those organisations.”

While other schools in the district, including Harrogate Grammar and Rossett School, have converted to academy status on their own, Harrogate High opted to be part of a “family” of schools led by Outwood Grange.

Outwood Grange headteacher Michael Wilkins was brought in to Harrogate High as an executive head in 2007 when the school was branded failling and put on the National Challenge register.

Since then, the number of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at grade C or above - seen as a national standard - has increased and the school has also seen a rise in pupils’ achievements at A level.

Harrogate High announced earlier this year it wanted to formalise its arrangements with Outwood Grange, which already has several schools within its group.

Becoming part of the group of schools would include changing the school’s name to reflect its connection to Outwood Grange, which Mr Bayston said will take effect when the school converts to academy status. A new uniform was introduced at the start of the autumn term, in line with those worn at other schools in the Outwood family.

Mr Bayston added: “There’s no change in intention.

“I believe seeking conversion is the best way to secure the future success of our young people.

“There have been other delays to conversions at other schools for different reasons; there are different circumstances concerning each conversion.”