The time of turbulence for Canon Lee School is coming to an end, says Brian Crosby, executive principal of Hope Learning Trust, who will be responsible for both Manor Church of England Academy and Canon Lee.
Mr Crosby wanted to reassure parents, students and staff of Canon Lee that Hope Learning Trust is “in this for the long haul” and that Manor and Canon Lee would be sister secondary schools. Manor has an ‘outstanding’ rating by school inspectors Ofsted.
“Our main priority is to ensure there is outstanding teaching and learning in every classroom for every student and that behaviour in lessons and around school contributes to an effective learning environment,” he said.
“We believe every school should have its own identity and another early priority is to understand Canon Lee and to protect everything that is special about the school in this, its 70th anniversary year.”
A consultation evening for parents will be held before half term and Mr Crosby says he and his team will be meeting with staff as soon as possible. “It is our intention to see Canon Lee come out of special measures quickly but in reality, some of the changes will not be instantaneous.
“We’re not here to treat schools like a franchise, where everything is identical – we celebrate differences while ensuring a quality education for all our young people.”
A new principal is expected to be in place before the end of the academic year, to ensure continuity for the school when the Joseph Rowntree School involvement ceases at the end of June.
Mr Crosby is one of the handful of headteachers in York to be accredited as a National Leader of Education and Manor is classed as a National Support School. Hope Learning Trust, therefore, through Manor, has a track record of supporting other schools and improving outcomes for young people.
“A good primary school/secondary school relationship is essential for ongoing success for Canon Lee,” he said. “We welcome all primaries in the area working together so we can establish a Clifton-wide strategy for school improvement.”
Burton Green Primary School has come to the end of its consultation to become an academy and join Hope and chair of governors Paul Black welcomed a similar move for Canon Lee. “Following a very thorough public consultation governors voted at the end of last term, with no dissenting voices, to join Hope Learning Trust and continue our journey to becoming an outstanding school.
“We feed into Canon Lee and we are delighted that there is further clarification on their improvement, building on the great work that has already begun.
“By keeping the school leadership and commitment within the immediate schools closest to it, this will help support the whole community in transforming Canon Lee.”
Mr Crosby said there was a positive relationship between Hope and Canon Lee’s governing body and there was ongoing dialogue to strengthen it even further. “We believe in a strong local governing body, with active parental representation,” he said.
He said a medium term goal would be to develop effective partnerships between all secondaries within Hope, sharing staffing, expertise and resources. “Manor and Canon Lee have their own unique identities but we will operate across schools to offer more choice and greater opportunities for both institutions. There is every reason for Canon Lee parents to be optimistic for the future. As Manor parents and students are already aware, we work hard for success at every level.”
Mr Crosby is stepping down as principal of Manor at the end of the summer term to concentrate on his executive principal role within the Hope Learning Trust, which was formed in April last year with Poppleton Ousebank Primary School. He will retain executive principal oversight of all secondary schools in the Trust.
Mr Crosby joined Manor as headteacher in 2002, when it had 640 pupils. In September it will have over 1,000. During his tenure, Manor has moved to a new site and achieved Oftsed ‘outstanding’ status in 2007 which it has held ever since. Earlier this year, Manor was commended for its work with Pupil Premium students and was named as one of the top 100 non-selective state schools in the country in the English Baccalaureate school performance measure.