School struggling on in old buildings

A SCHOOL governor claims Ovenden pupils are being neglected at the expense of others in Halifax where the birth rate is higher.

Moorside Community Primary School, Keighley Road, operates from a Victorian building which needs replacing.

It was created in September 2004 from two former schools on the site – Moorside Infant and Nursery and Moorside Junior –when Calderdale Council said the school was a priority for a new build.

Two sets of building plans have since been drawn up but show no signs of getting off the drawing board. Councillor Tom Bates criticised the delays following a survey which highlighted difficulties in the management of the premises.

School business manager Sue Davison outlined concerns in a recent letter. “The survey is particularly worrying. The school’s two main boilers exceed 40 years of age and replacement costs are estimated between £150,000 to £180,000.

“As the school is an amalgamation of two school buildings, heating and hot water systems are not coherent and in many cases not fit for purpose.”

Councillor Bates (BNP Illingworth/Mixenden) said it was a ridiculous situation.

“I have been a parent-governor for six years and the council have always promised our school would be next for a new school,” he said.

“But, because birth rates are higher elsewhere, others will get schools built before ours.”

He contacted David Whalley, head of learning in Calderdale, asking for an update on the Moorside situation.

Mr Whalley wrote back saying future development would depend on available capital funding and priorities would change in light of funding and need.

“There are a number of pressures regarding the provision of school places in parts of the borough where unexpectedly the birth rates are increasing and therefore a capital programme will need to take account of these particular issues,” he said.

“We are reviewing the capital programme and when we have available capital the Moorside project will be further developed.”