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Wetherby High School silences unsettling buildings debate

by Wetherby Liberal Democrats on 18 February, 2019

Wetherby High School has delivered an improved Ofsted result

Wetherby Liberal Democrats have praised Wetherby High School for delivering excellent Ofsted results at a time when a political debate has been sounding over the disrepair of some of its buildings.

Ofsted rated Wetherby “good with outstanding features” – just the boost it needed while Leeds’ Labour council publicly revealed that along with Royds School in Rothwell and Benton Park in Rawdon it was suffering from under-investment.

Jonathan Pryor, a Labour councillor and executive member for learning at Leeds City Council, called for the Government to step in with additional funds before privately apologising to the schools in writing less than 24 hours later.

Stewart Golton, leader of Leeds Liberal Democrats, said: “Cllr Pryor is right to raise the issue of under-investment in Royds, Wetherby and Benton Park schools. However, in his fervour to criticise the current minister, he ended up doing a disservice to those schools by wrongly implying that they were unsafe learning environments.”

Ironically, after pleading poverty, the Council has now outlined a £20 million investment plan for Benton Park, without identifying any future similar package for Royds or Wetherby.

David Hopps, chair of Wetherby Liberal Democrats, whose children are past pupils at Wetherby High School, said:  “The Ofsted results represent fantastic news for Wetherby High School which might have found itself in the middle of a political debate over the fabric of its buildings but which has delivered the No 1 priority – rising standards of education. It’s a credit to all involved.

“But we note that substantial funds have now been found for Benton Park. Wetherby Liberal Democrats expect the town to be fairly treated at a time when through excellent management, teaching and governorship it has restored its reputation.”

Comments in the Ofsted report include:

  • “Pupils thrive, feel safe and achieve well”.
  • “The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding”.
  • “A strong and caring community where pupils accept each other’s differences and celebrate diversity”.

Wetherby Liberal Democrats joined the successful campaign last year for the school at Boston Spa to be saved rather than closed so that the land could be sold off for housing.

Hopps said: “We have always supported two schools as the best outcome not just for Wetherby, but also for Boston Spa and the surrounding villages, espec. Boston Spa and Wetherby have very different approaches and the growth of two well-performing secondary schools will provide the excellent choice in our community that parents deserve.”