Kirklees confirm plan to shut Birkdale High

COUNCIL chiefs in Kirklees are to press ahead with plans to close a rapidlyimproving Dewsbury high school.
In the wake of the new Government’s decision to scrap the £200 million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) plan, Kirklees is still planning a major shakeup.
Birkdale, which saw its GCSE pass rate shoot up to 64 per cent from 38 per cent last month, is earmarked to close in 2011.
It was thought that when BSF funding was lost, the council would scrap its plans.
But this week the council confirmed what it wants to do. This includes:

  • Closing Birkdale;

  • Moving Batley Girls’ High onto the Batley Boys’ site but operating two separate singlesex schools;

  • Creating a new independentlyrun Academy on the Howden Clough site;

  • Scrapping plans to expand Spen Valley Sports College at Liversedge;

  • End the twotier middle school system in Gomersal and Birkenshaw.

Coun Cath Harris, the council’s joint Cabinet member for children, said though “less funding” was now available councillors wanted to continue with the planned changes.
“Funding for new buildings was just one part of our plans and this year’s exam results show that the system is already making real progress in outcomes,” she said.
“There is an absolute commitment that we will continue providing support and leadership as our school system – and more importantly the learning that takes place within it – is developed.”
Kirklees has been celebrating rises in educational achievement across the district at all key stages, including GCSEs and A levels.
More young people are achieving the key benchmark of five or more A* to C grades – with English and maths up to 52.4 per cent from last year’s 47.4 per cent – and all schools are now above the 30 per cent base target.
Coun Ken Smith, the other joint Cabinet member for children, said: “This year’s achievements, particularly in the core subjects so important for young people as they progress to the next stage of their learning, are the result of hard work and determination by students, schools and all those who work to support children and young people.
“We applaud the hard work and efforts of students and school staff. We are determined to carry on working to achieve even greater success for future generations.”

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