People are being asked to share their views on a rural village school described as “no longer fit for purpose”.
The future of Cragg Vale Junior and Infant School, Cragg Road, has been under threat for some time and Calderdale Council wants people to consider a range of options to overcome its problems.
Occupying a Victorian building and attended by 59 pupils, the school’s premises are in a poor condition and the council says ongoing maintenance and running costs are unsustainable at a time when funding has been reduced.
Concerns have also been raised about disabled access to the school, as entry is via steep steps from the roadside or from a narrow track at the back of the building. Despite the problems, the school received a ‘good’ rating from education watchdog Ofsted and the latest Key Stage 2 figures show that students achieve well in core subjects.
Three options have been put forward to ensure this can continue. They include merging Cragg Vale with Scout Road Academy or Calder High School, relocating Cragg Vale to the Calder High School site or closing Cragg Vale and asking parents for their preferences at alternative schools.
Councillor Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “We want all our children to have the best education possible and that means providing them with suitable facilities.
“While the standard of education at Cragg Vale is good, unfortunately this school is no longer fit for purpose, it was built over 100 years ago and it’s not possible to adapt it for modern day use without significant costs.
“Currently there’s no access for children with disabilities and the school doesn’t have a playing field for outdoor sports and recreation. These funds could be better spent on teachers, teaching resources and materials. We’d like parents and carers, teachers, governors and other interested parties to tell us what they think about the options we’ve put forward for the future of the school. Nothing has been decided yet, but the findings from this consultation will be presented at Cabinet in October to help us decide which, if any, of the options we should progress.”
Last year, pupils and parents rallied around to halt plans to launch a consultation on closing the school down and relocating it to Calder High.
Jen Dodds, parent of two pupils at the school, said: “I cannot, obviously, speak for all parents, but I believe the majority of us would like to stay together in our school community, wherever we end up.
“I am glad to see the consultation going ahead and very much hope that everyone will be able to contribute their views fairly.
“Whatever happens, it is obvious to me that Cragg Vale School is very much loved by its pupils, their families and teachers, and continues to be a very successful, thriving and happy school.”
Details on each option and consultation forms can be found on the Calderdale Council website.
People can also have their say or drop off completed forms at one of the consultation meetings, starting at 6pm on Tuesday, September 27 at Calder High School.