Parents back proposed merger of town’s infant and junior schools

Most people are in favour of merging two schools in a town, according to a public consultation.

Almost 80 per of those who responded to Bradford Council’s consultation said they were in favour of creating a single primary school in Silsden.

That would involve a merger of the existing Aire View Infant and Hothfield Junior Schools

Six out of seven of the parents who replied said they wanted the schools, which are on nearby sites in central Silsden, to combine.

A significant number called for a new, larger school to be built for children from both existing sites, which could expand when new housing estates were built in the town.

The council this month released to ward councillors the findings of its two-month consultation over merger proposals designed to meet the challenges caused by lack of school places in Silsden.

Several townspeople, including Jane Hitchcock and Louise Armstrong, recently appealed after their children were refused places at Hothfield School despite attending nearby Aire View School.

In recent months councillors and education officers have been discussing long-term solutions to the crisis, including potential sites for a replacement school.

The findings of the consultation responses will now be studied by Michael Jameson, the council’s strategic director of children’s services, who will make recommendations to the Council’s decision-making Executive on September 15.

Cllr Andrew Mallinson, who represents Craven ward on Bradford Council, welcomed the release of the consultation findings, but was concerned about the lack of detail.

He said: “The report does not give any suggestions as to what will be recommended by officers to the Executive.

“Is there a site left in Silsden of sufficient size to build a new school and if not, what was the point of consultation? What timescales are we looking at if a new school is to be built?”

Cllr Mallinson asked how schoolchildren would be accommodated while the new school was being built, and whether there were contingency plans if funding was not available in the near future.

The council received 115 responses to its consultation, including 71 from parents.

Supporters cited reason such as continuity of education, siblings able to attend the same school, and savings on both uniform and school running costs.

Governing bodies at both existing schools agreed that one primary school in Silsden would be better for pupils, parents and staff.

Objectors said the current system of two schools worked, particularly praising the caring nature given to young children at Aire View.

From the T & A


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