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Former The Skipton Academy (TSA) pupil, James Sabin, 17, has just been appointed to the prestigious position of Head Student at Ilkley Grammar School.

James was one of a number of  pupils from The Skipton Academy to join Ilkley Grammar School Sixth Form in September 2020 to begin their Post-16 journey as part of the Moorlands Learning Trust partnership. James is studying Criminology, Sociology and BTEC L3 Sport with the hope of joining the Police next year.

Each year Ilkley Grammar School appoint pupils to the Post-16 Student Leadership Team through a rigorous application process. James Sabin and Freya Williams (who also joined IGS in year 12) were successfully appointed to the Head Student positions after short listing, a student and staff vote and a formal interview.

Candidates needed to outline their priorities for what they would like to achieve next year and James focussed on improving awareness around mental health, gender/racial/sexual equality and environmental issues around school and the local community. Mr Gutch, Deputy Headteacher, said “James made a positive impression from the moment he walked into Ilkley Grammar School. He has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience of working with charities and is very passionate and committed to addressing the issues he outlined in his application around improving mental health and the environment. He and Freya have already started working with their 18 strong student leadership team, identifying their priorities for the year, welcoming potential new starters during an outdoor welcome afternoon and recording a ‘top tips’ video for the incoming year 12 students.”

Mr McManus the Principal at The Skipton Academy said “It will come as no surprise to staff who have worked with him since he was in Year 7 that James is doing so well on the next stage of his journey. He has always been an individual who wants to make a difference to his community. I’m very pleased that James is continuing to be a role model for students at The Skipton Academy and I’m sure our link with Post 16 at Ilkley Grammar School will see many other students follow James’ example and achieve great success within Moorlands Learning Trust.”


James is a Young Ambassador for DrugFam, a charity which supports anyone who has a family member or loved one battling addiction to drugs or alcohol. He has spent the last few years raising awareness around the dangers of drugs and last year was awarded The Young Citizen of the Year Award in the Craven Community Champions Awards for his fundraising efforts and talks in school. More recently James and his brother, Phil, participated in a skydive raising more than £1,200 for DrugFam.  

James and Freya will lead the Post-16 Student Leadership Team and chair the whole school Student Council. James said he was “thrilled to accept this opportunity and is looking forward to making a positive difference to the lives of the pupils at IGS.”

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