Opinions sought on Birkenshaw academy plan

UNVEILED: BBG Academy Trust members Lesley Surman and Sharron Light with the consultation document that has been released today.
UNVEILED: BBG Academy Trust members Lesley Surman and Sharron Light with the consultation document that has been released today.
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PARENTS who want to open a high school in Birkenshaw look set to get their wish – nearly five years after their campaign first began.

The Birkenshaw, Birstall and Gomersal (BBG) Academy Trust and Birkenshaw Middle School have announced the start of a consultation into converting the school into a new academy.

The four-week consultation begins today, with the school asking parents and stakeholders for their opinions on converting to an academy.

The BBG Academy Trust comprises parents who hoped to open one of the government’s flagship free schools.

The trust says a free school is still an option to consider, but has chosen to go down the academy route.

Spokeswoman Lesley Surman said: “Birkenshaw Middle School and BBG Academy Trust have come together in a dynamic partnership to meet the needs and desires of parents in the area for the creation of a local secondary school.

“BBG are excited to announce that becoming an Academy in 2012 will allow the school to take extra pupils in years six, seven and eight from September 2012.

“It will give parents in the area more choice – particularly parents in the surrounding area who are seeing their local middle schools close in July 2012.”

Additional year groups would be added when the academy becomes a secondary school in September 2013.

Mrs Surman added: “The vision of a high performing local school to serve the area after years of uncertainty, we believe, will be welcomed and will bring together the existing successful Middle School with the BBG Free School to create a new Academy.”

However, Coun Kath Pinnock, who is also chairman of governors at Whitcliffe Mount, said the consultation was ‘an information gathering exercise’.

And she questioned the need for an academy in Birkenshaw village.

She said: “What I don’t want to see is an unseemly battle for children between the two schools because that isn’t in anyone’s interests.”