Council sets out its priorities for improving schools

To rebuild or not to rebuild? Major alterations are needed at Todmorden High School
To rebuild or not to rebuild? Major alterations are needed at Todmorden High School

A REVIEW of Calderdale secondary education, which began 18 months ago, has finally come up with a list of proposals for new and improved schools.

But diminishing resources and uncertainty over future grant allocations means some ideas might have to be put on hold, councillors have been warned.

The £8 million originally set aside to improve and enlarge schools has already been cut by £750,000.

Other proposals rely on competitive bids for scarce Government funding.

Specific proposals include purchasing land and buildings from the Diocese of Leeds to keep St Catherine’s High School open in North Halifax.

The Diocese wants to concentrate Roman Catholic secondary provision at All Saints, Bradley, Huddersfield.

Another priority which has emerged from the review is the need to provide opportunities for people with learning difficulties aged 16 to 25, possibly at Spring Hall, Halifax.

Special provision is needed in Calderdale for young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, and more school places are needed in West Central Halifax, and particularly at Halifax High School.

The council is talking to PFI providers about expanding Ryburn Valley High School, at Sowerby with six extra classrooms which were included in the original design for the building.

The review also recommends another bid is made for money under the Priority School Building Programme to rebuild Todmorden High and carry out major alterations and improvements to Calder High School, at Mytholmroyd.

In the longer term, work will be needed to address accommodation problems at Rastrick High School and Crossley Heath School, Halifax.

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High recently secured a 15-year-lease on The Maltings, at Wheatley, Halifax, allowing the school to expand and by opening up the courses to ease accommodation pressures in other schools.

The cabinet will be asked to priortise the proposals so that accurate costings can be produced, according to the council’s head of learning David Whalley.

“It is unlikely that all the recommendations can be met within the allocated grant so projects might have to be put on hold until capital allocations are published by the Department for Education.”