PARENTS asking to see the head at two Ryedale primary schools in different towns could be forgiven for doing a double take.

For David Harrison has been appointed executive head of St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Pickering, on top of his existing role, which he has had for some time, in charge of St Mary’s RC Primary School, Malton, which has 107 children.

He became acting head of the Pickering school, which has 108 children, last year following the resignation of the head Lisa Brown in July.

Discussions took place involving the Diocese of Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire County Council and the Governors of both schools.

“I was acting head at St Joseph’s while various leadership models were looked at in consultation with the different parties,” Mr Harrison told the Gazette & Herald.

“It was decided that the executive headship role for both schools was the preferred route and we are now in the process of appointing a deputy head at each of the schools.

“It works extremely well because we can link with the children at both schools doing various activities together and the staff can also support each other.”

As local Catholic schools they have had close links but the new arrangement means they can work together even more.

Last week, for example, they linked up on a Dragons Den project.

“It not only gives us an opportunity to work even more closely together but also to share training,” said Mr Harrison.

But, he stressed: “Each schools wants to keep its own identity and we are determined to do that.

“I am loving it and it is an exciting challenge.”

As with all schools, budgets are having to be tighter than they were but, as Mr Harrison explained: “This situation gives us the opportunity to look at ways of spending our resources in different ways and it also helps to develop the leadership structure.”