Rebuilding Calder High School: delegation to meet Schools Minister

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

A delegation from Calderdale, together with Hebden Bridge MP, Chris McCafferty is to meet a Government Minister in a bid to secure funding for the rebuilding of two of the borough’s high schools.

Councillors say that the rebuilding of Calder Valley High School and Todmorden High School is vital to the local economy.

In November of last year, Calderdale Council submitted expressions of interest under the Government’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme. The original bid consisted of two separate projects, each involving five schools. The DCSF placed the first part of Calderdale’ s bid 53rd out of 70 initial projects, while the second part of the bid, for follow-up projects, was placed 54th out of 70.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr. Stephen Baines; the Leader of the Council’s Labour Group, Cllr. Tim Swift; and the Council’s Acting Head of Children and Young People, Paul Brennan, will meet the Minister of State for Schools and Learners, The Rt. Hon. Jim Knight MP, this Thursday.

The Calderdale delegation will be accompanied by the headteacher of Todmorden High, Patrick Ottley-O’Connor, and will be joined by Calder Valley MP, Chris McCafferty for the meeting.

Together, they will try to persuade Jim Knight that investing in new buildings for Calder High and Todmorden High Schools will provide a long-term boost to the local economy, making it more resilient in times of economic downturn.

Their visit follows the decision by the Department for Children, Schools and Families to place Calderdale near the back of the funding queue for school building projects.

Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr. Stephen Baines, says the news that Calderdale was close to the back of the funding queue was disappointing.

“Our bid under BSF would benefit a number of schools, right across Calderdale. But the real imperative is for the rebuilding of Calder High and Todmorden High Schools.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member, Children and Young People’s Service, Cllr. Craig Whittaker, said: “Anyone who has visited these schools and seen the buildings will agree that this needs to be done sooner, rather than later, and we will be trying to find a way forward on how those two key projects can be funded more quickly.”

“These buildings have long been identified as being in need of replacement and communities in the area have been consistently assured that their schools are a priority. Rebuilding these two schools would bring over £40million-worth of investment to the borough.”

Cllr Swift said investment in the new schools was essential, if Calderdale was to build up its economic resilience and move away from its dependency on the financial services industry.

“In order to do this, we need to be able to offer high quality education.

“If Calderdale is to remain competitive, then the transformation of education in the borough to promote skills and to promote higher level qualifications is essential.

“Calderdale has a great track record of improving standards where there has been investment in the fabric of our schools.

“GCSE results at Halifax High, Park Lane High and Ryburn Valley High have all been significantly better since the schools were rebuilt in 2004/05.

“Funding these schools will build on that success and, in the longer term, will result in a more robust local economy.”

Previously on the Hebweb

Calder High Teachers suspended March 2009

Calder High results Jan 2009

Inspectors praise Calder High Dec 2008

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