Way is cleared for biggest school yet

THE way has been cleared for creating a Calderdale secondary school with up to 1,900 pupils.

Councillors have backed the idea of adding a 400-desk extension to the new Trinity Academy at Holmfield, Halifax.

It will cater for pupils at St Catherine’s Roman Catholic High, which is due to close in the summer of 2013.

“We are confident this will provide a long-term solution to what has been a very challenging period for parents in north Halifax because of the question mark over education provision,” said Calderdale Council’s head of learning, David Whalley.

The academy’s principal, Michael Gosling, said parents at both schools would be kept fully informed.

“The right thing is being done for the right reasons and that is to ensure the children at both schools get a good education,” he said.

Calderdale Council had considered turning St Catherine’s into an academy but the idea fell through when the Leeds Diocese demanded as much as £4 million for the land and buildings.

The cabinet was told an extension to the new Trinity Academy, due to be completed next summer, would cost about £5 million.

Education spokesman Coun Ashley Evans (Lib-Dem, Warley) said that with the extension, the academy would be the largest secondary school in Calderdale.

“There are issues about management and the number of pupils but I am not sure what alternative we had,” he said.

The cabinet has agreed to spend £1.5 million on sixth-form accommodation at Spring Hall, Halifax, for students attending Ravenscliffe Special School.

Another £1.3 million will go on turning the Calderdale Pupil Referral Unit into a special school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

A review is to be carried out of primary-school provision in Calderdale and secondary provision in west central Halifax.