Rossett sixth form back on site in 2024, says trust head
Nov 30, 2023
Photo of (l to r) Richard Sheriff, chief executive of Red Kite Learning Trust; Tim Milburn, headteacher of Rossett School; and Pete Saunders, deputy headteacher at Rossett School.
Richard Sheriff (left) of Red Kite Learning Trust, with headteacher Tim Milburn and deputy headteacher Pete Saunders, both of Rossett School.

The sixth form at Rossett School in Harrogate will be fully operational from its own on-site facilities from September 2024, the Stray Ferret can reveal. 

It was reported earlier this year that the sixth forms at Rossett and Harrogate Grammar School were to merge, but this was not the case, according to Richard Sheriff, chief executive of the Red Kite Learning Trust, which both schools belong to. 

Mr Sheriff told the Stray Ferret: 

“A merger was never on the cards. It was always about a partnership – both schools choosing to work together in the interests of the young people they serve.” 

Over the last year, Rossett School’s Year 13 students – upper-sixth formers – have carried on being taught at Rossett.

But Year 12 students – lower-sixth formers – have been taught at Harrogate Grammar School, because a dip in pupil numbers at Rossett meant there were not enough pupils for the courses. 

Mr Sheriff said: 

“From September 2024, we’ll have a larger group of students, so we’ll be offering more courses at Rossett for both Year 12 and Year 13 students. 

“Rossett and the Grammar School may not both offer all courses, but students at one school may be able to do a course at the other school if it’s not offered at their own. For example, we don’t offer A level PE at Harrogate Grammar School, but we do at Rossett. 

“Sharing resources like this allows us to offer a broader curriculum across the two schools. 

“The collaboration between the two schools is fantastic. We all have the same values, the same mission, in our DNA. We’re all just trying to do things together for the benefit of the community.” 

In recent years, the school roll at Rossett has shrunk from around to 1,500 to about 1,000. But Mr Sheriff said the decline in numbers had been halted and was being reversed. He said: 

“We really expect numbers in Rossett’s sixth form to grow as the school grows. Rossett went through a difficult period, but we expect them to rise again.  

“We’ve got a great new head in Tim Milburn, a new executive board, and trust is coming back among parents and in the wider community. 

“Housing is going up all over the town, and we want those children to have a really good choice of schools. They can’t all go to Harrogate Grammar School.” 

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Rossett School is benefiting financially from the presence of Red Kite Learning Trust’s offices and facilities within its grounds.

The Trust was previously located at Harrogate Grammar School, but there was little free space at the school. In contrast, Rossett’s diminished roll meant it had underused buildings, so the Trust decamped there and pays to use its buildings, giving the school a new revenue stream. 

Through its training arm, Red Kite Education, the Red Kite Learning Trust is one of the largest teacher training providers in the country, with more than 160 trainee teachers.

From its base at Rossett School, it offers national professional qualifications for headteachers, executive leaders and middle leaders, early career framework support for teachers in their first two years of teaching, and training and support for business managers and teaching assistants. 

As many as 800 adults at 150 different schools are in some kind of training through Red Kite. 

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