SCHOOLS secretary Ed Balls has called for independent advice over plans for a new school in Kirklees.
He has asked Prof David Woods to produce a report which could pave the way for local families to run their own school in Birkenshaw.
Parents protested over a Kirklees Council decision to shut a popular school and are now looking at submitting a bid for a new school.
They have put together an application from the Birkenshaw, Birstall and Gomersal (BBG) Parent Alliance to publish proposals for a new 11 to 16 foundation school on the site of Birkenshaw Middle School.
Mr Balls, the secretary of state for Children, Schools and Families has the final say on whether the plans can be published.
Prof Woods is principal National Challenge Adviser to the government.
In his letter Mr Balls said he was keen to support parent promoted schools but this must be balanced against local need for places in the area and funding.
He said a decision to move ahead with this proposal would have a significant impact on Kirklees Council’s Building Schools for the Future plans.
The BBG Parents’ Alliance is made up of parents from Birkenshaw, Birstall, Gomersal and East Bierley who are committed to the fight to establish a new school for the area in the Birkenshaw area.
Many parents were angry when Kirklees Council changed their Building Schools for the Future programme to deny their area a new secondary school despite unprecedented support from thousands of parents and the local community.
The BBG Parents’ Alliance is now working with a number of other bodies to develop plans to establish a new school by applying to central Government for direct funding.
The Alliance is looking to set up one of the new “Free Schools” which are being proposed to be introduced by the Conservatives.
Under Tory proposals parent groups will be able to apply to the Government to run schools facing closure and establish new schools in areas neglected by their Local Authority.
BBG Parents’ Alliance spokesperson Lesley Surman said: “We have accepted that Kirklees Council has chosen to ignore the needs of our community, but we will not give up on the needs of our children.
“We now are working to establish a strong group which will be able run our new school.”