Please don't shut our school head

BIRKDALE headteacher Christine Caraher has launched an impassioned plea to councillors to help save her closurethreatened school.
Mrs Caraher spoke at Dewsbury’s Town and Valley Committee this week in a bid to draw attention to what she claims are “anomalies” in the figures that show 1,000 spare school places in Dewsbury.
Birkdale High faces the axe after a review of Kirklees Council’s failed £200m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme and the Cabinet is due to decide on October 15 if the school should close.
Most pupils would be sent to Westborough High School and Birkdale would become a ‘satellite’ site for Westborough.
A petition signed by more than 1,000 people calling for the school to stay open has been presented to the council and last month hundreds joined a protest outside Dewsbury Town Hall in a bid to persuade Kirklees to reprieve the school.
At the meeting Mrs Caraher said: “Local authority officers’ figures show there are currently 1,000 surplus places in Dewsbury, which we think is wrong.
“If Birkdale closes, there will be a deficit of 185 places and all the other local schools will be operating at capacity.
“The figures show that Birkdale needs to carry on until at least 2015 and that Westborough will never be able to meet the required capacity, so our surplus pupils will be scattered across the town.
“Split sites end up costing more money in the end, and the capacity just isn’t there between the other schools.
“Closing Birkdale means standards will fall, not improve. We’re not arguing that we’re at capacity, but we’re making a real impact.
“We’ve had a massive improvement in results and we are really, really concerned about standards.
“Two schools in South Kirklees have less than 400 pupils but we have more than that and we’re the ones being closed.”
Coun Paul Kane (Lab, Dewsbury East) agreed to meet with Birkdale officials as soon as possible and also asked to hear representations from other affected high schools in the ‘Dewsbury Learning Partnership’ group of schools.

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