Extra places promised as part of the proposed merger of Silsden schools

keighley_news2:27pm Tuesday 2nd February 2016

By David Knights

AIRE VIEW Infant School in Silsden will almost treble in size as part of proposals to merge the town’s two schools.

The newly-created Aire View Primary School will eventually have 630 pupils instead of the current 238 if plans are approved next week by Bradford Council.

  • The school will be split across two locations, the existing Aire View site in Elliott Street and the nearby site currently occupied by Hothfield Junior School. As long as
  • The reception class would expand from the current 75 places to 90 in September 2017, with the same number of children starting each subsequent year until the full capacity is reached in 2021.

The merger, due to be discussed by the council’s ruling Executive on Tuesday (February 9), aims to tackle huge pressure on school spaces in Silsden.

Aire View last year had to turn away several Silsden children, including some who lived within half a mile of the school.

Some parents were instead allocated school places for their children as far away as Riddlesden.

They were particularly dismayed because older brothers or sisters already attended Hothfield Junior School, and parents assumed the long-established ‘sibling rule’ would apply.

The rule could not be used in Silsden because it was one of the few places in Bradford district with separate infant and junior schools rather than one primary school for all three to 11-year-olds.

The proposal due to be discussed by the Executive is to transfer pupils and staff to one entity, to be known as Aire View School, catering for children aged three to 11. ‘Hothfield Junior School’ will cease to exist on August 31, 2017.

A report to councillors states that some additional building or remodelling of the existing buildings will be needed before the schools can merge.

It states: “This will be phased by agreement with the school, and be subject to the normal planning permission process.”

Silsden and Bradford councillor Adrian Naylor said he welcomed the latest stage in giving Silsden, one new combined school.

He added: “Whilst it appears to be taking a long time, it’s having to follow a procedure set out in law. I share frustration of parents and future parents who just want this issue resolved as quickly as possible.”

The report says there are currently 165 reception places across South Craven, and all other schools in the area are at capacity. Research shows that demand will continue to increase over the next few years.

It adds: “The proposals would build on the good standards of teaching and learning already in place at Air View and provide additional places for local children without having any negative impact on other schools in the area.”

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