GOVERNORS at Shelley College have rubber-stamped a decision to drop a controversial new entry scheme.
And the move by the Academy not to accept Year 7 students from 2014 has been welcomed across the board.
The governors’ decision was backed by local head teachers, Kirklees Council and the area’s MP, Simon Reevell.
College principal John McNally told governors on Tuesday evening that the groundswell of opposition to the current plans and strength of feeling from the local community had prompted his decision to recommend that the plans should be withdrawn.
Mrs Alwyn Cooper, who chairs the Governors, said: “The Governors had to make a decision on how to proceed, based on the information presented to them.
“We have recognised, early in the consultation process that our proposal is clearly not what our local community wants at the present time.
“In examining all the considerations, the governors have agreed to support the principal’s decision to formally withdraw the proposal.
“We will inform the Department of Education of our decision.”
Mr McNally added: “I would like to thank all the people who took the time to express their views and showed how the local community has a key part to play in influencing the education of our children.”
The proposals had attracted a huge amount of opposition with many hundreds of families vehemently opposing the ideas.
As an academy, Shelley College was able to explore its options in changing admission arrangements. If the governors had chosen to do so, they could have applied directly to the government to make a change.
There were fears it could damage the two Middle Schools in the area. Gary Johnson and Helen Baxter, headteachers of Kirkburton Middle School and Scissett Middle School respectively, welcomed the decision.
“We are very pleased that in the light of overwhelming opposition from the Shelley community, the governors of Shelley College have decided to withdraw their proposal at an early stage.
“This has been an extremely difficult and emotional time for our pupils, parents and staff. We would like to thank everyone who has supported the pyramid throughout, particularly our parents, and most especially the Keep Shelley Pyramid parent group.
“If there is a positive to be had from this whole episode it is the way in which it has brought all facets of our community together and strengthened even further the links between the two Middle Schools and all the First Schools.”
Dewsbury MP Mr Reevell said “I wish to pay tribute to the Keep Shelley Pyramid organisers and the hundreds and hundreds of supporters who demonstrated what ‘people power’ can achieve.
“I also want to thank Mr McNally and the Governors for taking the sensible decision to withdraw their proposals”.
Clr Cath Harris, the council’s lead Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “We very much welcome the decision made by the governing body of Shelley College.
“The level of opposition has been overwhelming and we believe they have taken the correct and appropriate course of action by withdrawing their expansion proposal.
“It has been very clear in recent weeks that local families not only have great faith in the current system but also feel passionately about it, and it is pleasing that the college governors have now listened.”
The Shelley Pyramid is a three-tier school system covering Kirkburton and Denby Dale and consisting of one nursery school, 16 first schools, two middle schools and, at the ‘tip’ of the pyramid, Shelley College.
A consultation process set up by Kirklees Council over the plans will continue until the end of the month, as only the Cabinet can order its cessation.
But a series of planned public meetings has been cancelled.