The truth about our Free school

As a Birkenshaw parent who has watched the BBG group from the sidelines and followed the development of school plans over the last three or more years, I felt I needed to respond to the recent letter in the Guardian from the Whitcliffe Mount Parents’ Alliance (WMPA).

I have returned my ‘expression of interest’ form to the group, stating my interest in a place at BBG High for my child. This process was unfortunately misreported as BBG asking parents to register for a place at the school.

It seems unbelievable to me that an association like WMPA would not understand the process, and know that you logically cannot register for a place at any school until it actually exists!

Also, every free school application across the country has to prove demand for places and BBG is no different. It is a little naughty for WMPA to say it has to prove demand due to any other spurious reason, mentioned in the letter.

I, along with every parent in the area, was provided with an ‘expression of interest’ form outside school. The form was very clear and gave me sufficient information to make my decision to reaffirm my strong interest in the creation of the BBG High which I would like my child to attend. It is a real shame that WMPA should seek to misrepresent the actions of the BBG in response to the article, rather than first finding out the truth.

WMPA knows that the local authority is trying to send my children and others across North Kirklees to Howden Clough, and not Whitcliffe Mount, a decision forced by WMPA’s very own Coun Kath Pinnock.

I would be very interested to know how the 800 surplus places referenced in WMPA’s letter are being created, especially as I believe Howden Clough is now going to be an all-girls academy.

As Mrs Pinnock knows, the funding for free schools and academies comes directly from central government not a local authority. Each pupil in the country carries with them a ‘bounty’ which is provided to the school of their choice. Therefore, if a pupil decides not to attend a certain school, WMPA is correct in saying that the school would “lose money”, but this is money it doesn’t need as the pupil will not be attending that school.

WMPA is just scaremongering to mention tens of millions of pounds that will apparently be spent on BBG. These unsubstantiated figures have been quoted for the last three years by Kirklees and Mrs Pinnock. I think it more sensible that we all wait and see for ourselves what the figures are when they become public knowledge.

I do not see why WMPA feels that Whitcliffe Mount is being threatened by BBG High. After all, it is Kirklees which decided to make the changes. I cannot support the views of WMPA, and continue to be grateful for and supportive of the huge effort that BBG is going to on behalf of parents in our area.

MRS H WATSON

Prospect Lane

BIRKENSHAW