Leeds & West Yorkshire

Boston Spa school hits out at Leeds council merger plan

Boston Spa Academy Image copyright Philip Harper
Image caption The school wants to join an academies trust to help it achieve an "outstanding" Ofsted rating

A head teacher has criticised council plans to demolish his school and merge it with another nearby.

Christopher Walsh, principal at Boston Spa Academy in West Yorkshire, had applied for the school to join The Gorse Academies Trust (TGAT).

Leeds City Council has objected to the application and wants the school to merge with nearby Wetherby High School.

Mr Walsh said the merger would be detrimental to the academy and claims the council is "not fit for purpose".

Leeds City Council said any changes would not take place until after next year.

"Any proposal bought forward by the local authority would require full consultation and any implementation would not take place until after 2019 allowing for a phased approach and careful management," a spokesperson said.

"The council has cross party support to retain a school in the heart of the Wetherby community which would serve the coming generations of pupils and have capacity for additional pupils generated by proposed housing in the area."

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The academy, formerly Boston Spa School, has a "good" rating from Ofsted and last year governors agreed the best way of making "outstanding" would be to become part of TGAT.

Mr Walsh said it consulted with the community and put plans in place to officially convert to an academy in September 2017.

However, the application has been challenged by Leeds City Council.

The authority says it plans to build a new school partnership between Boston Spa Academy and Wetherby High School - which has had three successive "requires improvement" Ofsted judgements.

In a letter to parents, Mr Walsh said: "These proposals make no sense to us.

"We believe they are motivated by politics and conflicts of interest and do not put the best interests of our children first."

He has also written to the education secretary and has asked him to take the academy out of council control.

"Our governors believe that the future education of our children is too important to be entrusted to this local authority," he said.

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