Fury over Leeds school’s academy decision

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A governor has hit out at a knife-edge vote to transform a historic Leeds secondary school into an academy.

Prince Henry’s Grammar School, in Otley, is on course to become an academy after members of the governing body voted 10-9 in favour of the decision.

The YEP understands that six governors, who opposed the move, have since said they will step down after the move was rubberstamped.

Teachers voted two-to-one against the proposal and pupils from the school’s sixth form also handed in a petition against the move.

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Councillor Ryk Downes, who has been a governor at the school for 10 years, is one of those who handed in his resignation.

Coun Downes (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) said: “I was disappointed in the decision.

“At a recent public meeting attended by over 100 people there was only one person who supported the decision to become an academy.

“There is a particularly clear indication that parents and the community were upset about this.

“On the school’s website it says that they listen and engage with parents but how did that happen here?

“Even though I have resigned as a governor I have promised the school to help them as a councillor.”

He also stressed fears for the future of the Chippendale Swimming Pool, which is used by the school and local residents, once Prince Henry’s is no longer under local authority control.

But headteacher Janet Sheriff hopes that transforming the high-achieving school into an academy will help the school to bring in vital funding.

MP Greg Mulholland is set to write a letter to the Secretary of State questioning whether an important decision should be allowed on such a close vote.

He said: “Clearly there is a lot of strong feeling and a lot of concern about this.

“With it being such a close vote there is a sense that an important decision should not be made on such a narrow vote.”

Prince Henry’s Grammar School was originally set up by King James I in 1607 and is one of the oldest schools in Yorkshire.

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