Changes to school provision in Almondbury and the surrounding area have been approved by the members of Cabinet

Changes to school provision in Almondbury and the surrounding area have been approved by the members of Cabinet.

The changes are designed to achieve the best possible standards of care and education, supporting children and young people to have the best start in life.

Almondbury Community School – which currently caters for children aged from 3 to 16 – faces very challenging circumstances. Ofsted have rated it ‘inadequate’ and in need of ‘special measures’ and it also has a large number of spare places which make it extremely difficult to offer a broad curriculum and maintain financial viability.

It is vitally important for all children to access a broad curriculum in a setting which is secure and sustainable. This improves their outcomes and enhances their opportunities, helping them to fulfil their potential. Cabinet members have therefore decided to reduce the school’s age range so that it caters for children aged 3 to 11. This means the secondary phase of the school will close, with effect from September 2020.

No children will be left without an alternative pathway for continuing their education and we will offer a high level of personal support to each family, ensuring their needs and circumstances are taken into account. After the secondary phase closes next year, Almondbury Community School will become a primary school serving the local community. Under national policy, it will also become an academy due to Ofsted’s judgement of ‘special measures’.

Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:

“We are committed to improving the quality of education for our children and to give every child the best possible start. We recognise the depth of feeling about these changes and we want to sincerely thank the people who shared their views with us.

At the same time, the scale of challenges facing Almondbury Community School have been severely hampering its curriculum, its financial viability and the learning opportunities we want all of our young people to experience. In addition, if we had not taken the very difficult decision to change the age range, we firmly believe that the national Department for Education would have instructed us to close the whole school.

We have listened carefully to the views of parents and to their worries about the potential impact of children changing schools. Our aim will be to make these transitions as smooth as possible. I can assure people that we want to provide a calm and supportive environment for every young person to complete their secondary education with minimum disruption and with the maximum opportunities to achieve their potential.”

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