SHELLEY College governors are convinced that their decision to accept younger pupils at their academy will be the right one.
They also claim that it is a well recognised fact that the middle school system, which involves a double transition for pupils, leads to a dip in their performance.
Chairman of governors Mrs Alwyn Cooper said: “Some of the pupils currently have gaps in their skills and knowledge when they arrive at Shelley in Year 9.
“You just have to look at the GCSE results we have been achieving here. Our last Ofsted inspection was quite a while ago in March 2010 and we believe we are now an outstanding school.
“We believed the proposal was in the best interest of all – and we still do at the moment. We are confident the decision we will make will be the right one for the area.
“We would not have gone down this road if we did not think it was in the best interest of all the children.
“Shelley Pyramid would not crumble. There would be an option of two or three tiers and we would be offering one of those options.”
Mrs Cooper, who lives at Skelmanthorpe and has been a governor for 12 years, said the governors had acted promptly as soon as they became involved.
It was at the governors’ meeting of June 28 when college principal John McNally first outlined his plans for a two-tier system.
The meeting was attended by six of the then 13 governors. Five voted for the proposal and one abstained.
Mrs Cooper added: “We decided it was something which we wanted to pursue because we could see the advantages to children within the Pyramid. It would increase parental choice, improve standards and bring us in line with the rest of the country.”
Governors’ vice chairman Mr Nick Wilson, of Cumberworth, said: “Nearly 2,000 middle schools have been closed nationally – one transition is better than two.
“There are thousands of kids who already go from small primary schools to large secondary schools in Kirklees and they thrive on it. There is a rise in the level of expectancy from primary to secondary schools.”
He added that he was trying to respond individually to everyone who had contacted him personally on the matter.
The governors said that, if necessary, Years 7 and 8 could be smaller intakes as it would not be financially viable to hold places open for children from middle schools who might join in Year 9.
Speaking of the public response to the Shelley proposal, Mrs Cooper said that the governors had been “surprised by the nastiness which has come forward.’’