Lastditch bid fails to save high school

A HEAD teacher made a lastditch attempt to save her Dewsbury school from closure.

Birkdale High is one of the worstperforming schools in the town but head Mrs Chris Caraher told councillors that exam results were improving fast.

Mrs Caraher spoke out against closure plans at a meeting of Kirklees Councils Cabinet on Thursday night.

Members were not swayed and voted unanimously to shut the school by September 2011.

Westborough High School and the Thornhill Community Science College are to be expanded to take in pupils from Birkdale.

The decision, part of a controversial £200 million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project, was based on poor exam results.

Only 36.6 per cent of Birkdale pupils achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A to C compared to the Kirklees average of 64.7 per cent.

Mrs Caraher defended the figures at the meeting, claiming children at the school are from some of the most deprived backgrounds.

She said: Do you really believe it is right to close a school which is clearly making progress with some of the most disadvantaged children in Dewsbury?

Mrs Caraher said a recent Ofsted inspection showed Birkdale was improving and its closure would cast adrift many children.

The intervention failed but protests over BSF have forced councillors to delay a separate reorganisation of schools across South Kirklees.

Parents in Mirfield have fought against the closure of Castle Hall School while Birstall and Birkenshaw residents have protested over plans for their area.

Kirklees schools supremo Coun Ken Smith admitted the Labourled administration had been forced to delay further schemes.

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