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Calder High/Cragg Vale schools amalgamation consultation

From June Eaton

Saturday, 28 January 2017

I am surprised at the lack of debate about this proposal (see Hebweb news page, January 13th), the final consultation for which closes on 9th February. Full proposal and plans on Calder High site here: with a link to send comments to Calderdale Council. I believe that the proposal to amalgamate the schools would damage secondary education facilities in our community for generations to come. Although there are obvious advantages for Cragg Vale school, there are other options for that school e.g. amalgamating with the other two existing primary schools in Mytholmroyd.

The proposal has very major disadvantages for Calder High School, which is very overcrowded with buildings in poor repair, especially its portakabins. It was originally built for around 700 pupils not the current 1100+. The school is in urgent need of repair and increase in accommodation. The current 6th form block is the best building on the site, and Calder High Secondary School would lose the use of that building.

There is no guarantee that the proposed new 6th Form block would be even as big as, let alone bigger than, the existing 6th form block of 1000sq m (personal communication, Phil Taylor, access & school planning Calderdale MBC). Hence the total floor space of Calder High secondary school could be decreased under the current proposal.

Calder High has very limited outdoor space for PE and recreation. The loss of the car park would further decrease the outdoor space. The loss of part of Calder High land to a new car park would also worsen the situation.

The outdoor space available to the secondary school would necessarily be decreased by taking playground and PE space for the primary provision.
Although there are advantages to a through-school, these advantages would only be conferred on the current Cragg Vale pupils, one of many primary schools in the catchment area, and only at most 15 of a year group of 232 currently (217 proposed) admitted into Calder High year 7. That is 6.4% of the secondary school intake. So advantages for 6.4% of the primary pupils would cause disadvantages for 100% of the secondary school pupils - including the Cragg Vale primary pupils themselves - immediately and for generations to come.

It is vital that a proper and permanent solution is found for Cragg Vale School, but it is no good to improve the children's primary education by worsening their future secondary education, along with that of thousands of their contemporaries. I urge people to comment on the proposal before it is too late.