EXPANSION plans at a Huddersfield academy have prompted a massive row.
And there are fears that Shelley College’s proposals may spell the end for the middle school system in Huddersfield.
Parents fear for the future of the successful system since the College put forward plans to accept students at age 11.
There have been very vociferous protests against the proposals from headteacher John McNally and the governors.
Shelley is at the top of the highly-rated Shelley Pyramid of 20 schools and currently has some 1,400 pupils aged between 13 and 18.
It became an academy in September 2011, which moved the school out of local authority control and finance. All of the feeder schools have remained within Kirklees Council’s authority.
Under the present system, students arrive at the academy from either Kirkburton or Scissett Middle Schools.
However, the academy’s governors have now decided to press ahead with proposals to take on Year 7 and 8 pupils (11 and 12-year-olds), which would mean an extra 330 to 360 pupils per year.
They are about to embark on a formal consultation process in November, which will last until next March.
Their findings will be presented to the Education Funding Agency and, if accepted, will be passed on to the Secretary of State for Education for approval.
Where this would leave the two middle schools is uncertain.
Currently the Pyramid’s 17 first schools take children from as young as three through to nine years old. The middle schools cater for Years 6, 7 and 8 (ten to 13-year-olds) and at the top is Shelley College, with 13 to 18-year-old students.
This system involves two changes of school for pupils. The proposed scheme would involved only one transition. Opinions are divided as to whether this is a good or a bad thing for young people.