Thank you very much for taking an interest in our position of Executive Headteacher. I hope that you will find the information provided a useful introduction to our schools and that you will take the opportunity to apply for the post.
The Federation of North and South Cowton Community Primary and Melsonby Methodist Primary Schools became active on 20 May 2019, formalising a longstanding relationship between the two schools.
Our schools are located in lovely rural settings serving a number of small North Yorkshire villages in an area around Darlington, Richmond and Northallerton. Both are successful in their own right with Ofsted rating them as Good, while Melsonby is also rated Good by SIAMS.
A newly formed, consolidated governing body is in place and will build on the existing close working relationship between the schools.
The children, staff, parents, governors and our community are proud of our schools where children are well-behaved and benefit from the opportunity to build their confidence and independence in the caring and nurturing environment offered by small village schools.
As Executive Headteacher, you will be at the forefront of maintaining and developing relationships and collaborations with the wider community, developing our provision and, above all, ensuring that we meet the needs of all our children.
In the changing educational environment, there will be many exciting challenges ahead. The schools need to work more closely together and develop ever stronger links with all our stakeholders. They are well supported by the new governing body, parents and staff.
I would encourage you to visit our schools in advance of your application and see for yourself how we work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children. Such a visit is not part of the selection process, and whether or not applicants have visited will not influence the final outcome.
If you would like the opportunity to visit, please email Steve Cooper who has been engaged to support us with recruitment to this key role.
I hope you find the information provided useful and informative and that it will encourage you to apply.
Chair of Governors
Located close to the North Yorkshire market towns of Richmond and Northallerton and with Darlington to the north, Melsonby and North Cowton are surrounded by the outstanding natural beauty of North Yorkshire’s National Parks. We have excellent road connections north to Teesside and Durham, west to The Lake District and south to Harrogate, York, Leeds, and Selby. We also benefit from easy access to the east coast mainline from both Northallerton and Darlington.
There is a close working relationship between our schools and since September 2017 have shared an Executive Headteacher (retiring in December 2019). The Federation was formalised on 20 May 2019 with a single governing body.
Currently school numbers are as follows:
- North and South Cowton Primary School: 30
- Melsonby Methodist Primary School: 20
Though North and South Cowton (located in North Cowton) is not a faith school, it has a good, strong relationship with a Northallerton church and a local volunteer.
The children, staff, parents, governors and our community are proud of our schools where children are well-behaved and benefit from the opportunity to build their confidence and independence in a the caring and nurturing environment only small village schools can offer.
The School Councils support the understanding of democracy by respecting the viewpoints of others, making their own decisions and contributing to the decision making process of the school.
There is a good deal of collaboration across our schools. This includes subject leadership, events, residentials and educational trips. Both also benefit from good wrap around facilities, involvement in Forest School projects and active ‘Friends of’ groups.
Melsonby School dates back to the 1860s but was refurbished in 2003. North and South Cowton School is situated in two, more modern buildings both of which were refurbished recently. Here, PE/Drama and services are held in the village hall.
Our schools are successful. Both rated as good by Ofsted with Melsonby also rated good by SIAMS and are friendly places where staff know all the children. Located around 7 miles/25 minutes apart, the schools are situated in attractive, rural settings serving a number of small North Yorkshire villages in an area around Richmond and Northallerton.
Culture and Ethos
Both schools share similar values but each has its own strap line and vision:
Love one another, encourage curiosity and foster resilience
Together we nurture curiosity to gain knowledge and wisdom across the curriculum and the experiences we share. We foster resilience to cope wisely when things appear challenging. Drawing on our Christian faith and belief, we learn to love and respect everyone, and we flourish in the wider community in which we live.
North and South Cowton
Enjoy School – Be ready for life
We develop confident, empowered young people through a curriculum that values their voices; reflects their lives and develops and broadens their horizons. We value the contribution of others from the local and wider community in order to develop relationships routed in respect and compassion.
Melsonby Methodist Primary School was rated good at its last Ofsted inspection which took place in December 2015.
This school continues to be good. Leaders have maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. Over the past two years, you have steadily improved the outcomes achieved by children at the end of Year 6 in reading, mathematics and grammar, punctuation and spelling. The proportion of children reaching the nationally expected level at the end of Reception has also increased. You have shown determination, since your appointment in 2013, to improve the school and the success of your actions to date demonstrates good capacity to secure further improvement.
In April 2016 the School was rated good by SIAMS.
North and South Cowton Primary School was rated good at its last Ofsted inspection which took place in March 2017.
This school continues to be good. The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. With the able support and commitment of your governors, you have continued to drive further improvements. You have embedded a culture where children have access to high-quality learning experiences, flourish as individuals, and are consequently very well prepared for the next stage of their education. Over time, outcomes have remained consistently strong at the end of each key stage. While you acknowledge that there are still some areas to develop even further, your realistic self-evaluation means there is a relentless drive for improvement and a continued determination to succeed.
- Federation partnership working
- Community involvement
- Enthusiastic staff
- Parental and community support
Current areas for improvement
- Stretching the more able
Both schools continue to perform very well and are generally above average. At Melsonby, KS2 value-added was +40% on expected standards, while North and South Cowton achieved +12% on the same measure.
Achievement in detail
It should be noted that, as with other smaller schools, statistical results can appear skewed due to cohort numbers.
The Executive Headteacher spends 2.5 days per week in each school. There is a lead teacher in each school, able to cover when the Executive Headteacher is off site. Currently, staff are not split between the schools though this may change in future. However, some subject leaders (English, Maths and SEND) provide leadership across the Federation. Both schools share a Finance Officer and each has an administrator.
There are 2 full time teachers, 1 teaching KS1 and 1 teaching KS2. Additional support is provided by a TA
One of the teachers will be on maternity leave from 1 September 2019 to 31 May 2020 and will then return on a part time 0.7 FTE basis.
As with Melsonby, there are 2 full time teachers, 1 teaching KS1, the other KS2. There is also support from one ATA (14.5 hours) and one GTA (21.25 hours).
As with most schools, our budgets need constant review.
Melsonby has a balanced budget for the next 3 years. North and South Cowton has a small debit balance which will be resolved by recent TA adjustments. However, due to an envisaged small reduction in the on roll numbers the budget may be more of a challenge in 21-22. To counter this, both schools actively promote themselves to the local community and North and South Cowton is currently considering opening a nursery. The decision on this is envisaged early in the Autumn term.
Executive Headteacher Priorities
In the short term, there will be a need to maintain adequate challenge to ensure standards continue to rise. In the longer term there will be added emphasis on balancing the budget and the possibility of expanding the Federation. Other priorities include are:
- Strengthen leadership and partnership across the Federation
- Raise attainment and accelerate pupil progress
- Deliver a revised curriculum across the Federation
- Retain distinctiveness of Melsonby as a Church school
- Promote the schools with the aim of maximising pupil numbers
- Ensure most able children are adequately challenged
In addition to the above, there is a current discussion as to whether there is a need for 2 buildings at North and South Cowton.
In the short term, the schools are looking to build on their success. The new Executive Headteacher will need to establish themselves both within the individual schools and the communities they serve while managing further staff integration across the Federation.
The Wider Community
Great value and pride is placed in the ‘village school’ by local residents, with many of the children being at the heart of village life. Locals value their schools, and see them as integral to the life of their communities. The local churches value their close links with the schools. The new Executive Headteacher would be expected to champion our schools as an integral part of the wider community.
There is a predominantly white British population and few if any of our children come from disadvantaged backgrounds. There is a recognition of the aging village demographic and a need to attract local families to what our schools have to offer.
With this in mind, our schools act as focal points of their communities, hosting events such as a village sports day, duck race, community lunches and other outreach activities at Melsonby. North and South Cowton also support a village sports day as well as an annual bike race, BBQ and a community MacMillan coffee morning. Children also benefit from music lessons (including brass and drumming) lunchtime choir and after school performing arts clubs.
We have strong relationships with the Local Authority and our main secondary school, Richmond School where our children regularly attend events. We are part of the Swaledale Alliance, a relationship viewed as key to our future development as it brings opportunities to network, partner and share best practice with other schools.
As there isn’t a Methodist Church in Melsonby, the school works closely with the local CofE Church, St James’. Both the vicar and her husband are involved with the school and their children attend the school. Children attend church regularly to celebrate religious festivals. We ensure that colleagues at the Methodist and Academies Schools Team (MAST) are kept informed about activity in school. There are two Foundation Governors of the Federation Governing Body. At North and South Cowton there are links with a representative from the New Life Baptist Church, in Northallerton who visits in addition to another weekly visit from a volunteer who teaches children aspects of the Christian faith.
About living and working in North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire is England's largest county and one of the most rural. The area comprises the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Pennines and a stunning coastline around Scarborough and Whitby. The area hosted the phenomenal Tour de France in 2014, and due to its success has created the Tour de Yorkshire with global recognition. There are ruined castles and abbeys, serene gardens, unique breweries, thrilling rides and industrial heritage. Something for everyone!
North Yorkshire has plenty to offer the outdoor enthusiast. From the hard gritstone of Almscliff and Brimham Rocks to the limestone of Malham, Gordale and Kilnsey climbing venues are in abundance. The Yorkshire Dales is the premier area for caving and for mountain biking; there are the bridleways of the Dales and North York Moors as well as the renowned trail centre at Dalby Forest. There are a small number of sailing clubs on reservoirs around the county and fantastic surfsport venues and sea kayaking on the east coast.
While the county is rightly known for its wide open spaces, it also incorporates attractive market towns including Northallerton and Skipton - judged the best place to live in Britain by the Sunday Times - the traditional seaside towns of Whitby and Scarborough, the Spa town of Harrogate, as well as the ancient city of York, the most visited city outside of London. There are a wide range of shopping, leisure and cultural facilities as well as excellent schools, universities, road and rail links, there really is everything to offer you and your family as a place to work, live and enjoy!
Travelling further afield we have convenient connectivity, with close proximity to metropolitan cities of Leeds and Newcastle, with little over two hours commute on the main train line to London. We border the Lake District, Lancashire, County Durham, and Yorkshire & Humber regions with all they have to offer.
Federation of North and South Cowton Community Primary and Melsonby Methodist Primary Schools
Post: Executive Headteacher
Commencing: January 2020
Number on Roll: North & South Cowton 30, Melsonby 20
Salary: L6 – L12 £45,213 - £52,413
This is an excellent opportunity to take on a truly unique role, leading and managing two successful and highly regarded small village schools and developing their continued integration and relationships with their wider communities. Each school has its own individual characteristics and sits at the centre of their community.
Currently rated by Ofsted as Good, you will lead and develop their relationship while embedding the newly formed Federation. Our schools benefit from excellent support, provided by the Governors (including 2 Methodist Foundation Governors) Local Authority Advisors and Swaledale Alliance.
Christian values are at the heart of school life at Melsonby and, although North and South Cowton is not a faith school, it has a close relationship with a local church.
Located close to the North Yorkshire market towns of Richmond and Northallerton and with Darlington to the north, we are surrounded by the outstanding natural beauty of North Yorkshire’s National Parks. In addition we have excellent road connections north to Teesside and Durham, west to The Lake District and south to Harrogate, York, Leeds, and Selby. We also benefit from easy access to the east coast mainline from both Northallerton and Darlington.
As well as leading the schools to ever more integration, your remit will be to raise standards by developing collaboration and partnership across our schools and with the wider community. You will also ensure our schools continue to challenge themselves in all aspects of school life, ensuring that pupil outcomes are maximised.
Working closely with each community, you’ll promote each school to ensure it remains highly visible and attractive to parents, maintain strong links with the church and develop local stakeholder networks to maximise influence and support.
A proven leader, team builder and communicator, you must be comfortable in developing and building networks, partnerships and collaborations with the whole school community. You will also have the skills and ability to effectively manage your time between our schools, to ensure that staff are supported, developed and integrate effectively into the wider team and that finances are effectively managed.
You’ll receive positive support from our governing body, all of whom are committed to providing a package of support to ensure your long term success.
We would encourage you to visit our schools in advance of your application and see for yourself how we work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children. Such a visit is not part of the selection process, and whether or not applicants have visited will not influence the final outcome.
If you would like the opportunity to visit, please email Steve Cooper at North Yorkshire County Council, who has been engaged to support us with recruitment to this key role. For an informal, confidential conversation about the role please call Steve on 01609 536578.
As small schools, we have planned time/dates when visits can easily be accommodated (detailed below). Should you not be in a position to attend during these times, please contact Steve who will endeavour to make alternative arrangements.
- Tuesday 17 September at 10 am (starting at North & South Cowton then moving on to Melsonby)
- Wednesday 18 September 10 am (starting at Melsonby then moving on to North & South Cowton)
I hope you find the information provided useful and informative and that it will encourage you to apply.
When applying please take into account the following:
When completing your application, please provide 2 employment references. A faith reference is not required.
The supporting information section of your application should clearly evidence your ability to meet the requirements we have outlined in the person specification. The information in Supporting Information will be used to shortlist applicants for this role and therefore it is imperative that you provide evidence as requested.
How to apply
We strongly recommend that you contact and visit us so that we can talk with you about this unique opportunity and you will have a chance to see and hear what we have to offer.
For an informal, confidential conversation about the role please contact Steve Cooper, our Recruitment Adviser, at North Yorkshire County Council.
Application closing date: Sunday 22nd September (Midnight)
Shortlisting: Wednesday 25th September
Interviews: Thursday 10th and Friday 11th October