School merger set to get green light

Parents and children protest at the news that Waterton J&I School in Lupset is earmarked for closure.'w6870e904
Parents and children protest at the news that Waterton J&I School in Lupset is earmarked for closure.'w6870e904

CONTROVERSIAL plans to merge two Lupset schools look set to go ahead.

Plans to amalgamate Waterton J&I School and Snapethorpe Primary School were put on hold following the government spending review last October.

But this week council chiefs said it could go ahead by the end of the year.

The Express first revealed in 2007 that 5,000 surplus school places caused by a drop in the birth rate, were costing Wakefield Council £5m each year.

Waterton J&I School was one of 15 listed for closure or merger in the first phase of the school reorganisation programme revealed in 2009.

Council chiefs said it was chosen because of falling pupil numbers, declining standards and ageing buildings.

But parents, who had nothing but praise for the school, launched a campaign to save it.

They later accused the council of ‘being crafty’ when a cabinet report deemed Waterton J&I School an unsuitable site to house the new school that would be created through an expansion of Snapethorpe Primary, from the merger.

The proposals will be considered by the council’s cabinet committee when it meets on July 12.

If the proposals are approved, parents and other interested parties will have until September 1 to make any representations to the council.

Coun Olivia Rowley, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Our top priority is to provide children across the district with the best possible education, and we feel that by merging the two schools we will be able to achieve this.

“Change is always difficult and we understand that parents and staff may have concerns, but I want to assure them that we will do everything we can to ensure that any transition is as smooth as possible and that there is no disruption to pupils’ education.”