New era dawns for Whitcliffe Mount

PREPARATIONS are gathering pace for Whitcliffe Mount School’s transformation into a new secondary school from this September.

Under Kirklees Council’s reorganisation plans, announced two years ago, the school will open its doors for pupils aged 11-16 in just six months time.

The school, which until recently catered for pupils from 13-18, has appointed new staff and building improvements will be complete by the summer.

Headteacher John McGee believes the school’s improving reputation following successive Ofsted reports will stand it in good stead. “On a temporary basis the school will grow in size to accommodate younger children, but contrary to misinformed rumours this will not create a “super-sized” school,” he said.

“For about two years the school population will grow by about 200 from its normal size and will then settle back to a school of approximately 1250 pupils.

“We have now appointed 28 additional staff for next year, including a significant number of highly skilled teachers and support staff from the closing middle schools who will have the advantage of accompanying the children they currently work with, as they move to Whitcliffe Mount.”

To smooth the transition, pupils at partner schools in Scholes, Cleckheaton, Gomersal and Birkenshaw have been working together on projects throughout the year.

A recent workshop included designing a model village.

Mr McGee believes the school’s improving GCSE results – which have risen more rapidly than the national average – will get better and better. This summer’s estimates put the school on course to do better than ever.

He added: “Re-organisation is hard work and causes anxiety for children and their parents but there are tremendous opportunities to improve the educational opportunities for all children in the area.

“Between the age of four to 16, children will only have the disruption of changing school once, they will transfer at the end of a national curriculum key stage, like most schools in the country and at Whitcliffe Mount we are very enthusiastic about working with children for five years from the age of 11.”