AFTER nearly five years of campaigning, a group of parents have won their battle for a new school in Birkenshaw.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has approved the conversion of Birkenshaw Middle School into the BBG Academy from September.
It ends a long and controversial campaign by parents in the village, who sought to establish one of the country’s first Government-backed Free Schools.
The parents said they were ‘elated’ by the news and will hold an open day for prospective parents later this month.
Spokeswoman Lesley Surman said: “We cannot believe the time has come for us, after years of campaigning it’s now a reality.
“A lot of hard work, commitment and frustration has gone into this and we have achieved what we set out to do.”
Mrs Surman said the decision to scrap the Free School plan in favour of academy conversion status was taken to secure the future of the middle school site, as well as providing stability and security to both staff and pupils.
However, opponents have criticised the campaign, citing a lack of need for another secondary school in the valley, impacting on funding and pupil numbers elsewhere.
Whitcliffe Mount School headteacher John McGee said: “I respect that parents want a local school for their children but I still feel that there is no justification for an additional school in North Kirklees.”