Halifax school to be Calderdale’s first ‘forced’ academy

Year 4 children working on laptops at Mount Pellon Primary School'Pictured are Zaki Murphy, Simran Jahangir, Ashir Ali, Mrs Sally Price, Hassan Saif Mahmood, Aalia Farooq, Mehuish Amjad, David Sover and Tochi Ezeadum

Year 4 children working on laptops at Mount Pellon Primary School'Pictured are Zaki Murphy, Simran Jahangir, Ashir Ali, Mrs Sally Price, Hassan Saif Mahmood, Aalia Farooq, Mehuish Amjad, David Sover and Tochi Ezeadum

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CALDERDALE’S biggest primary school is to be “forced” to sever its links with Calderdale Council and become an academy.

Mount Pellon School has 600 pupils and was recently categorised by Ofsted as inadequate, which the governors are challenging.

Mount Pellon School has 600 pupils and was recently categorised by Ofsted as inadequate, which the governors are challenging.

But the Halifax school has also been included among 200 which the Government says must become academies in order to raise standards.

For headteacher Janet McPhail, governors and staff it is an especially difficult time.

“We were told originally that we must be sponsored by an academy trust or an improvement trust and we expected to have some choice in the matter.”

The school approached North Halifax Grammar but they said they did not have the capacity to run a school where children speak as many as 18 different languages.

Batley Girls’ Grammar was interested in sponsoring Mount Pellon but as soon as it went into special measures the Government instructed it to accept sponsorship from an academy group based mainly in London and the South West, which had no experience of schools in urban areas.

Now it seems likely that Mount Pellon will be run by the Northern Educational Trust, based in Newcastle.

Talks are to begin later this month so that the change of status is likely to take place in January.

Meanwhile, Mrs McPhail has the problem of recruiting seven or eight staff including three assistant headteachers who are due to leave this summer.