Feelings are running high among parents following news of the Almondbury ‘super school’ proposal.
One mother, Becky Donkersley, has organised a Facebook page and a meeting for tomorrow to plan a co-ordinated approach to the proposed merger of Almondbury High, Almondbury Juniors and Greenside Infant and Nursery School.
Nearly 90 people have already signed up to the Facebook page, many of whom fear the proposal might already be a ‘done deal’.
Becky, whose twin daughters Alice and Freya, seven, attend Almondbury Juniors, said: “What has become clear is that some parents are for the move as a positive way forward, while many are against it. But all parents, regardless of their view, are really concerned at the lack of information.”
At Monday’s Kirklees Cabinet meeting, councillors gave the go-ahead for the statutory six-week consultation with parents, staff and governors to begin.
The proposal would merge all three schools, with 1,200 pupils, on the Fernside Avenue site on May 1 next year.
Becky, an advisory teacher in Wakefield, said: “The proposal before the Cabinet was full of legalities, but it didn’t talk about curriculum or management structure – who will lead the new school?
“There would not be time to appoint a new headteacher. The problem is that it has left parents with far more questions than answers.
“I personally don’t see how putting these three schools together will make them outstanding. There is a feeling that this is a done deal and we will not be properly consulted, the proposed pace of change is so fast.
“There is a very strong feeling of community in Almondbury, it is a lovely village with a lot of good points and the schools play a large role in it. This proposal is either going to strengthen or destroy that.
“All parents want to see is their child getting the best education they can and I have always felt strongly that our children should stay in the community.
“We will form a group and present a united front to Kirklees. Hopefully they will listen to what we are saying, but the way this has been approached so far doesn’t instil confidence.”
The parents’ meeting will be held at 7.30pm tomorrow at Almondbury Working Men’s Club, 17 Southfield Road, Almondbury.
The Facebook page is at Parents for Learning Excellence in Almondbury Schools (PLEAS).
At this week’s Cabinet meeting Clr Mehboob Khan, leader of the authority, said: “The proposal is extremely important and we have to look at the education priority for the area. The council will extensively consult with families and young people to find the best solutions moving forward.”
Commenting on fears over the use of the vacant school land, he said: “The use of the land and the intended outcome will not be in our minds when we look at the considerations.
“We ask for people to take an active interest to ensure their children receive the best education possible.”