New school is top class!

The new extension at BBG Academy.
The new extension at BBG Academy.
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The new term brought with it great celebrations in Birkenshaw as a brand new high school opened in the village.

BBG Academy, on the site of the former Birkenshaw Middle School, is the culmination of years of campaigning by parents who wanted to ensure their children had access to secondary education in the village.

Principal Jo-anne Atkinson with year nine pupils Lily Hodges and Robert Walker.

Principal Jo-anne Atkinson with year nine pupils Lily Hodges and Robert Walker.

In 2010 Kirklees Council announced it was scrapping the three-tier education system in the Whitcliffe Mount pyramid and the middle school would close.

However outraged parents and ward councillors mounted a campaign to save it, even attracting support from David Cameron who visited the school during the 2010 general election campaign.

The campaigners initially hoped it would become one of the government’s first Free schools, but then decided to pursue academy status instead.

The site has since undergone extensive building and refurbishment works to cater for the extra pupils it will attract as a five year entry, instead of three.

And on Wednesday it opened its doors to pupils for the first time as a high school.

Over the next two years the school will grow to cater for 750 11-16 year olds but is opening initially to years seven, eight and nine.

Principal Jo-anne Atkinson said support from the community had been key and the new school had proved a popular choice with parents.

“Pupils are wearing a smart new uniform and excitement about the new high school has been evident all summer on social media,” she said.

“This day is also the first day that pupils will see the new school building after acomprehensive build and refurbishment programme over the past 10 months.

“Our community fought long and hard to get high school provision in this area and today is the culmination of all that effort. We will be having an official opening later in September but today is all about our pupils. BBG Academy is an aspirational school and now our pupils have an inspirational building to learn in. We look forward to seeing them succeed.”