THE FORMER head of Scissett Middle School has rebutted Shelley College’s version of events leading up to its controversial expansion plans.
Mick Moriarty has vehemently denied claims made by Shelley vice-principal Steve Harrington that the proposals were openly discussed within the Shelley Pyramid over the last eight years.
Mr Moriarty, 63, taught at Scissett for 27 years and was headteacher from 2002 until he retired at the end of 2010. He claims there were never any discussions between the two schools about a single point of transfer for pupils.
“I categorically deny that any meetings of that nature ever took place,” he said.
Mr Moriarty invited the Shelley principal John McNally, who took over in January 2010, to Scissett and a number of meetings took place between September and December 2010. He said he was very impressed with his new colleague.
Mr Moriarty said: “We were looking at closer co-operation and ways of supporting pupils, even to the point of sharing teachers and forming a collaborative trust and Mr McNally was very interested.”
The Shelley principal even organised a trip for the two heads and Evelyne Barrow, headteacher at St Aidan’s First School, to see how Ossett High School’s collaborative trust worked with its primary schools.
Mr Moriarty retired confident in the knowledge that the collaboration was going to be even better than before.
He said: “The two-tier system absolutely never came into our conversations.
“My first reaction to the Shelley proposal was that I was stunned. My experience of John McNally was very positive and I genuinely believed he was keen to work in a collaborative system to the benefit of pupils.”
Mr Moriarty criticised the Shelley consultation document as “really vague,” claiming that many of the promises on offer such as breakfast clubs and after-school activities were already happening every week at Scissett.
He added: “Scissett is an outstanding school. Parents understand that and have been unwavering in their support for the school. Shelley will never be able to match that with over 2,000 kids.
“If the proposal goes through it will ultimately lead to closures and a very, very slow death for some schools which would be the worst of both worlds.
“Shelley College can then take pupils out of the area, but can’t guarantee a place for Year 9s in the middle school system. What’s that? It’s a threat.”
Mr Moriarty has written to MP Simon Reevell, Education Secretary Michael Gove, Shadow Secretary Stephen Twigg and the Education Funding Agency to voice his concerns.