Education shake up in Calderdale to meet demand for school places

Plans to expand working with Calderdale College and schools
Plans to expand working with Calderdale College and schools

Calderdale schools will be faced with increased pressure to meet the demand for school places and provision for children who need additional support according to a new report.

A major review will be carried out by Calderdale Council as it bids to meet the demand over the next five years and plans will be discussed at Cabinet.

According to council leaders as the level of Government funding for education from 16-19 years reduces, it is likely that some sixth forms will need to close or merge, where student numbers are low and the choice of ‘A’ Levels is limited. The Council is working with local secondary schools to make sure they are able to offer financially sustainable post-16 education.

A bid for a free school offering sixth form provision in Calderdale could be on the horizon as Calderdale Council leaders explore options in improving education in the borough.

A number of options are being explored for sixth form provision across Calderdale which include joint working between schools and Calderdale College.

Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, Councillor Megan Swift said: “The number of children needing a school place varies over the years, so we have to make sure we have the right type of provision in the areas where it is needed.

“As the reductions in post-16 funding start to bite, we’re also working with our secondary schools on the best options for post-16 education, so that our young people have the opportunities they need to achieve their ambitions.”

The Council has £16 million of funding to provide additional school places to 2019/20 and schools have been asked to submit an expression of interest by December 31 2016.

The review will also plan provision for children who need additional support which may lead to extra places.

To provide additional support for children with special educational needs, the Council is also investigating joint options with all schools across Calderdale, which could operate as satellite sites.

Calderdale Council has undertaken a detailed study to calculate how many additional school places, for five to 16 year olds, will be required over the next five years.

Most of the additional places identified will be needed for ages 11 to 16 across Calderdale.

This includes thirty new places at secondary schools in Lightcliffe, Brighouse and Rastrick and also in North Halifax.

Sixty new places will be required in the Ryburn Valley / Sowerby Bridge area, whereas an additional 15 places will be needed in Elland.

There is less pressure on primary school places, although an extra 15 new places will be needed in Mytholmroyd.

The Cabinet meeting will be held at 6pm on Monday November 14 2016 at Halifax Town Hall.