Boston Spa go-ahead to join academies Trust

Boston Spa School headteacher Christopher Walsh.
Boston Spa School headteacher Christopher Walsh.

Boston Spa school has been granted its academisation by Schools Minister Lord Agnew, it has been announced this afternoon.

The school, which was at the heart of a fierce debate on secondary provision in the area, will now join the Gorse Academies Trust.

Mr Stephen Hall, Chair of Governors, said: “The granting of the academy order is excellent news.

“The focus of Governors has always been standards and outcomes, and we are obviously delighted that we are finally in a place to drive our partnership plan with TGAT forward. The next few Governors’ meetings will now be able to make some exciting decisions.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Leeds City Council had plans to demolish Boston Spa School, sell off the land for development and merge it with nearby Wetherby High as it said pupil numbers were too low to sustain two secondary schools.

This sparked a huge campaign from parents to save both schools.

Wetherby Ward councillors Alan Lamb, Gerald Wilkinson and Norma Harrington welcomed news that Boston Spa School is to become an academy and that the two secondary schools can look to the future.

In a joint statement they said: “We would like to congratulate Boston Spa Academy and the Ruth Gorse Academies Trust on this news.

“Boston Spa is already a good school and this announcement will ensure that it continues to improve and deliver outstanding education to families and children that go to the school.

“We believe that Wetherby High School is a good and improving school and we have full confidence in the leadership and Governing Body at the School who we will work with, along with the Council, to deliver long needed solutions for the school including investment in the building to enhance the offer that is already in place.”

They added: “We believe that we are now in the position that we always wanted, to see the future of both schools in the hands of their respective governing bodies and we would also like to place on record our thanks to the local community who played such an important part in this process.”

Debbie Young, a parent of a Boston Spa Year 8 student and campaigner for the move said: “We are very happy. This is an incredibly important decision for the locality, and we applauded the minster’s decision.

“You only have to look at the impact of TGAT in the south of the city to realise that securing this partnership for the locality is so exciting.”

When Boston Spa and TGAT first began their dialogue about a possible partnership the Trust had three Ofsted rated ‘Outstanding’ schools.

In the year since opening the consultation this has increased to seven ‘Outstanding’ judgements.

Boston Spa School Principal Christopher Walsh said: “The Minister has made an incredibly important decision for our community.

“During the last 12 months we have seen the integrity of the work of TGAT repeatedly recognised and celebrated by Ofsted.

“We are thrilled that our strategic plan to become part of this story has been endorsed by the minister.”

Sir John Townsley, Chief Executive Officer of TGAT, added: “We are delighted at this resolution.

“Over this last year we have really enjoyed working with governors, leaders and staff at Boston Spa and to finally to be in a position to make significant progress with our partnership plan is excellent news.”

It is expected that Boston Spa will become part of TGAT by the early autumn, following legal processes.