School merger ‘will benefit children’

Redhill Junior School, Castleford
Redhill Junior School, Castleford

Two primary schools in Airedale will be merged to make way for a new site for 420 children by September 2015.

Redhill Infant School will be amalgamated with Redhill Junior School subject to no representations being received.

Les Shaw

Les Shaw

Wakefield Council’s senior decision makers rubberstamped plans to public a statutory notice setting out their proposals to create the new school on Stansfield Road.

Coun Olivia Rowley, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is the start of an exciting new era for these two schools.

“Bringing the two schools together will be an opportunity to share the best of both schools, building on both of their achievements and expertise.

Coun Rowley added that combining the school removed the transition from infant to juniors at the age of seven, and would provide “the best possible learning environment” for children to reach their full potential.”

A consultation took place between September 23 and November 1 with staff, parents, carers, governors and residents.

Of the 660 questionnaires sent out, only 67 responses were received. It showed 58 per cent of people supported the proposals, while a quarter were against.

It also highlighted concerns about the impact on traffic which will be addressed in planning permission for a new building.

Les Shaw, governor for both schools and ward councillor for Airedale, said: “A new school building in Airedale will be a benefit to the children.

“We will have to make sure that the amalgamation is quick as we are aware there staff involved and they will want to know there future position as soon as possible.

“We will be working to allay those fears in the circumstances.” The new £500k school will be funded by the Priority School Building Programme, which will cover the cost of the construction. The only cost to the council will be for providing furniture and IT equipment.

The report said if a merger had not been approved, it would have cost the council up to £2.1m to maintain the current school buildings over the next five years.