THE new head at the top of a school in York has revealed his vision for the future.

Chris Nichols is the new head teacher at Danesgate Community, a large special school of around 176 pupils aged five to 16, many with complex social, emotional and education needs in Fulford Cross.

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Mr Nichols has taken on the top job having previously been deputy head and says: “Having joined the school ten years ago as part of the Senior Leadership Team, I have been part of developing the school, encouraging it to grow and flourish into the thriving provision it now is.

"Having recently been successful in becoming the head teacher, I have a passion and commitment to the school, its students and whole community.

"I strive to make the school the best it can be and to give its students opportunities and experiences to allow them to flourish and achieve despite their learning and SEMH needs.

"I am keen to develop the school further to ensure those young people who are most disadvantaged, vulnerable or struggle with mainstream education in York are supported with an enriched and diverse curriculum to ensure the best outcomes, future studies and career pathways.”

York Press: Chris Nichols at work at Danesgate in YorkChris Nichols at work at Danesgate in York (Image: Supplied)

The Danesgate Community was formed in April 2010 and many of the pupils have additional learning or neurodevelopmental needs including Autism and ADHD. 

The school's aim is to nurture and support every pupil to achieve their full potential. This includes their academic achievement, their life skills, social skills, and emotional resilience.

The school supports young people from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4 and it’s facilities include a walled garden, a woodland conservation area and a sports field and admission has to be through the council rather than the normal admissions route.

They also have provisions based in mainstream schools across York. These are their Kestrel and Eagle short stay provisions which are designed to provide individual support to encourage success in mainstream school. There is also an outreach team that work closely with primary and secondary schools across the city.

Danesgate was rated 'good' by Ofsted in 2022 when inspectors said: “This school is full of warmth and friendliness. Pupils are well cared for and supported to do well”. 

Mr Nichols said Danesgate has gone through some significant changes and remodelling in recent years and is striving to become a beacon school of excellence for educating students with special needs and for those who struggle with a mainstream education offer. This also includes support and investment from the Local Authority.

York Press: Chris Nichols talking to a pupilChris Nichols talking to a pupil (Image: Supplied)

Maxine Squire, City of York Council's assistant director for education and skills said: “Since 2022 City of York Council has supported the Danesgate Community with more than £2 million of capital investment. This is a recognition of the important role the Danesgate Community plays in delivering good outcomes and destinations for children and young people with social, emotional and mental health needs.

"The capital investment in the Danesgate Community is designed to deliver buildings that can help the children to get the most out of their learning and to support wellbeing. This drives the vision of the Danesgate Community which is an important part of the city -wide provision for children and young people with additional learning needs.”

York Press: Maxine SquireMaxine Squire