THERE are changes afoot at the top of two York secondary schools.

The South Bank Multi Academy Trust has announced three new senior appointments for York High and Millthorpe schools. The move is part of the Trust’s plan for a major improvement in standards at York High, after the school was placed in Special Measures following an Ofsted inspection in January. York High is due to become and academy and join the Trust by Spring 2018.

Millthorpe head teacher Trevor Burton becomes executive head of both York High and Millthorpe and will be responsible for the schools’ strategic direction and overall school improvement. He will be assisted by two new heads of school, who will take on responsibility for much of the day-to-day running of the schools.

York Press:

Rod Sims will be head of school for York High and has been at York High for ten years, currently as associate head teacher, with responsibilities including pastoral care and achievement. A former pupil at Westfield Primary school who grew up in Acomb, Rod is a well-known, popular figure in the local community. In his current role, he was responsible for 20 per cent year-on-year improvement in GCSE results in 2016, and for a pastoral care system which was recognised as ‘strong’ and ‘effective’ by Ofsted.

The team is completed by Gemma Greenhalgh, who has been appointed head of school at Millthorpe. Her role is to ensure that Millthorpe retains the strong performance of recent years and continues its journey towards an Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ grade. Gemma is currently deputy head at Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School in Lancashire, and was previously at Blue Coat School, Oldham. During her time at both schools, the schools improved from Ofsted ratings of ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’.

Mr Burton said: “We’ve made two excellent appointments and I feel really confident that working together we will improve both schools. Gemma and Rod will be outstanding heads of school. I know their help will make both schools great places to learn and to teach so our students have an outstanding foundation for their lives.”

Mr Sims said: “This is the job I have always dreamed of. My vision for York High is for a happy confident school at the heart of the community, recognised by all as a bold and proud centre of educational excellence.”

Gemma Greenhalgh said: “I feel exceptionally privileged to be working with such impressive staff, students and governors. I’m looking forward to making my contribution to excellence at Millthorpe.” The new roles will start from September 1.

Until the academy conversion is complete, the South Bank MAT will take on responsibility for the management of York High in partnership with school governors and the Local Authority. This will allow Trevor Burton and his team to begin the work of school improvement without delay.

Edwin Thomas, Chair of Trustees at the South Bank MAT said, ‘Great schools start with the right leadership. We’re thrilled to have people of the calibre of Trevor, Gemma, and Rod to guide York High and Millthorpe on the next stages of the schools’ journeys. The Trustees are looking forward to working with them to deliver the best possible education to all our pupils.’