THE future of secondary education in North Kirklees is to come under the spotlight again next week.
A report discussing the outcome of the first stage of public consultation for Dewsbury and Batley will be reviewed by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday.
It highlights strong local opinion to have co-educational secondary schools in Batley, but with members of the Asian community and others, wanting to keep single-sex schools, particularly for girls.
Clr Jim Dodds, deputy leader and the council Cabinet’s member for children’s services, said: “The strength of opinion expressed at consultation meetings, through response forms and petitions is clear.
“The Cabinet now has several considerations, including developing a preferred option for co-educational provision for Batley and Birstall while also meeting the demand for single-sex girls’ provision in Kirklees.”
A crucial issue in the report is where learning centres may be put. But preferences for exact places are not evident.
The report also shows the mixed views among parents and the public about academies.
It stresses. however, that there is no overwhelming public opinion supporting or opposing an academy in Batley or Dewsbury.
Parents, staff and governors voiced the need to increase high-quality opportunities for over-16a and vocational courses for teenagers aged 14 to 19 in the whole of north Kirklees. They also expressed support for a new sixth-form college.
Clr Dodds added: “The possibility of establishing academies in Batley and Dewsbury, reducing the number of secondary schools in North Kirklees, and meeting the needs of post-16 and 14-19 students are all key issues.
“It is our duty to make the right decisions to ensure that a quality education is provided for all children and young people throughout Kirklees.
“As always, we are committed to delivering changes that are owned and supported by all.
“Detailed proposals for Batley and Dewsbury for the second stage of formal consultation will be presented with the proposals for the rest of the North Kirklees Schools for the Future programme during the spring term of 2008.”
The review process is to be delivered by the Kirklees Schools for the Future programme, paid for by the council and through the national Building Schools for the Future and Primary Schools for the Future programmes.
Academies are one of several types of schools which Kirklees could consider.
The consultation was launched at the Galpharm Stadium.
The Schools for the Future programme will see a £400m investment in primary and secondary schools, staff, buildings, equipment and facilities.