TWO schools which could lose pupils if a controversial academy expansion plan goes ahead, held open days for potential pupils yesterday.

Shelley College plans to expand in 2014 and accept year 8 and 9 pupils.

But Scissett Middle School and Kirkburton Middle School fear the expansion of Shelley College – now an academy – to 2,100 students will cause them to lose pupils and eventually close.

The schools argue this will have a negative impact on pupils going straight from primary school to high school.

The Scissett and Kirkburton schools say pupils from small village schools will find the transition to a large high school difficult and may underachieve and become lost in the system.

Denby Dale and Kirkburton are one of the few wards in the country that still operate a three-tier – or pyramid – school system. Here pupils graduate from primary to middle to high school, rather than from primary school to high school.

Yesterday Scissett Middle School held a ‘school in action’ event where potential pupils and their parents could tour the school and watch lessons in progress.

Kirkburton Middle School yesterday held an open evening for potential students and their parents.

Both schools hope the evenings will show pupils and parents the advantages smaller middle schools have over larger high schools.

Kirkburton Middle School headteacher Gary Johnson said: “We want to help people make an informed decision.

“Children are coming from small village schools which are at the heart of a community.

“Our school is smaller than a secondary school so we are able to provide a specific, specialist education.

“We’re specialists at supporting them through early adolescence which can be a confusing time.

“Research shows that at high school there’s a pronounced dip in achievement at the end of year 8 but at our school pupils are excited and motivated to go to Shelley College and perform at their best.”

Scissett Middle School headteacher Helen Baxter said: “Going to an academy for some children from small village schools is going to be traumatic, especially children with special needs.

“We’re a middle school and we know all our children and their families.

“There’s no way there can be that community feel you get in a community middle school at an academy.”

Shelley College is hosting an open evening for prospective sixth form students and their families. There is a chance to speak to teachers, current pupils and to take a tour of the facilities. The event, for anyone planning to begin or continue Year 12 education in 2013, is on Thursday, November 22 from 6.30pm to 9pm.