SHELLEY College’s plan to expand appears to be dead in the water.
Headteacher John McNally yesterday confirmed he had recommended that the proposal to accept Year 7 and Year 8 pupils to the school was withdrawn.
The dramatic U-turn comes after MP Simon Reevell urged him to scrap the controversial plan.
Mr Reevell said the school had failed to prove its plan would boost exam results and said the hundreds of angry emails he had received meant he could not support it.
And he said if the college went ahead with the plan he would lobby education minister Michael Gove to block it.
The dramatic development happened the day after Mr McNally was put on the spot at an extraordinary meeting of Kirkburton Parish Council.
At the meeting on Thursday evening he was asked by Clr Andrew Cooper if he would abide by the result of a Parish Poll – a local referendum into whether people agreed with the plan or not.
Mr McNally conceded that he would have to recommend the school’s governors to respect the result of the poll.
With the poll likely to result in a resounding ‘no’, Mr Reevell said he saw no point in wasting public money holding an election.
He said: “I recently asked Keep Shelley Pyramid supporters to email me and within five days I received almost 1,000.
“If the test is going to be the proposal needs to have popular support then that clearly isn’t the case.
“In those circumstances I won’t support the proposal and I would urge the minister to block them.
“I’ve invited Mr McNally to withdraw it and he agreed with my view there would be no point in having a ballot.”
Mr Reevell said Mr McNally had failed to prove any educational benefits to the two-tier system.
He added: “I always said if the educational justification was there I would back it, but the school is now saying they don’t have sufficient educational grounds.
“They haven’t been able to win that argument.”
In a statement released last night, Mr McNally said: “Shelley College is committed to a fair and democratic process, and is aware of the level of opposition to our current proposal.
“I will meet with our governors next week and recommend that the proposal is withdrawn.
“The governors will reach a decision and the correct procedure will be followed.