BBG academy gets Gove-ahead ...
PLANS for a new secondary school in Spen Valley have been given the green light by the Government.
Education Secretary Michael Gove approved a proposal on Tuesday for a parent-led academy in Birkenshaw from September 2013.
It is set to be one of the first ‘free schools’ in the country and will serve Birkenshaw, East Bierley, Gomersal and Birstall.
Demand for the planned 750 places has proved strong, with more than 1,000 applications from interested parents so far.
It was one of the reasons why the Government regarded the school’s business case, which looked at its viability, as proven.
The school, to be known as the BBG Academy, is earmarked for the site of the soon-to-be-axed Birkenshaw Middle.
Private firm Serco is to run it on behalf of the BBG Academy Trust, which is composed of the parents and residents who campaigned for it.
Kirklees Council’s schools chief Coun Ken Smith said: “It’s a disaster. The decision will damage other schools and create racial divisions. It’s a slap in the face for Kirklees residents and is a prime example of the Government looking after the better off.”
Lib Dem group leader Coun Kath Pinnock, who is a governor at Cleckheaton’s Whitcliffe Mount High, said the decision was politically motivated.
She said: “The community group were all at the election count last week wearing their blue rosettes. They’re all Conservatives.
“They don’t want to be convinced to use Kirklees schools. This decision means multi-million pound expenditure on a school which is unnecessary.”
BBG Academy Trust spokesman Lesley Surman welcomed the decision and said: “We’re delighted the needs of our community have been recognised. We’re determined to ensure the BBG Academy provides high-quality education for all children in our area.”
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The secretary of state has agreed that the proposed academy can proceed to the pre-opening stage.
“It is acknowledged there is still much work to be done before he can make the final decision to enter into an Academy Arrangement. We will continue to support pupils and parents in the area and work closely with all schools.”
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