Chiefs set to ditch plan for new St Catherine’s

COUNCIL leaders are ready to abandon plans for replacing St Catherine’s Catholic High with a new school in August 2013.

Instead, they are looking at building a 400-place extension to the new Trinity Academy, at Holmfield, Halifax, affiliated to the Church of England.

With a total of 1,900 pupils, it would become one of the largest secondary schools in Yorkshire.

The Leeds Diocese announced two years ago that it intended to concentrate Roman Catholic secondary provision at All Saints, Bradley, Huddersfield.

But the closure of St Catherine’s would create a shortage of places in that area of Halifax.

Talks between the council and the diocese appear to have broken down over church demands for as much as £4 million for their land and buildings, which would be required to keep the old school open.

Calderdale Council Cabinet will be asked on Monday to provide more places in north Halifax by extending the new academy, which is under construction and is due to open next summer.

Following a review, council leaders will also be asked to spend money on additional accommodation at Spring Hall, Halifax, for sixth-formers at Ravenscliffe School, to create a special school for children with behaviour, emotional and social difficulties and to look at ways of proving more school places in West Central Halifax.

l Councillors have giving strong backing to a bid for money to rebuild Todmorden High School and Calder High.

Labour’s education spokeswoman Coun Megan Swift said: “The Labour Government’s building schools for the future programme was a commitment to work towards rebuilding or refurbishing every secondary school.

“Now that programme has been scrapped, we are faced with a competitive bidding process to see if we can gain permission for these two schools to be rebuilt.”

Calderdale Council has spent the past decade trying to secure money to rebuild Todmorden High.

“The teachers and students have achieved great results under very difficult circumstances – they deserve better,” said Coun Jayne Booth (Lab, Todmorden).

When Education Secretary Michael Gove visited Calder High as a shadow minister, he described it as one of the worst school buildings he had seen.