School’s plan for the future

Pic Whitcliffe Mount school, Cleckheaton. (050936)
Pic Whitcliffe Mount school, Cleckheaton. (050936)
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WHITCLIFFE Mount School will not change its admission criteria to exclude children from Birkenshaw, governors have announced.

Changes to the way the school system is organised are ongoing and Whitcliffe will eventually accept year seven pupils, as middle schools are phased out.

Under Kirklees Council’s plans, Birkenshaw children would go to a new E-ACT Academy at Howden Clough in Birstall or a proposed independent free school at Birkenshaw Middle School from 2012, if plans are approved by Westminster.

The decision by governors this week to leave the admission area untouched would mean more choice for Birkenshaw parents, which is a key driving force behind the proposed free school.

Representatives from the school made a deputation to councillors last week, informing them of the decision.

Howard Glenn, a foundation governor at the school, told the meeting that the proposed schools in Birstall and Birkenshaw would significantly reduce pupil numbers at Whitcliffe Mount, which in turn reduces the school’s overall budget.

“We submit that there are too many initiatives to be supported by the client base which exists in the area,” Mr Glenn said.

“As a result both education and social diversity are in grave danger of being watered down and polarised to the point where no school surviving on traditional state funding alone will be able to offer sufficient breadth of curriculum thereby significantly reducing local choice.”

Whitcliffe Mount School provides a mix of academic and vocational courses at GCSE level and has recently recorded its highest results with 77 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades.

Headteacher John McGee said: “I applaud the vision of our governing body and their determination to provide a degree of security and continuity to parents in the Birkenshaw area through this time of change.

“The staff and governors at Whitcliffe Mount are absolutely clear that we intend to continue providing Birkenshaw children with a high quality, reliable and socially diverse educational experience as we do for all our students.”

Elsewhere, the reorganisation of the first and middle schools is well under way with building work currently taking place at Scholes First School.

l What do you think about this story? Contact ben.morgan@ywng.co.uk.