An oversubscribed secondary school has agreed to take in extra pupils to accommodate local children this September – but its head has warned it cannot guarantee places in future.

Ilkley Grammar School found itself with 253 children in Ilkley, Burley-in-Wharfedale and Addingham chasing 245 Year Seven places for the next academic year.

As its own admissions authority – under academy status – the school agreed to take in all 253 children in the priority one catchment area.

Head teacher, Gillian James, said the school was mindful of the distress caused by admissions appeals and made the “difficult” decision to admit extra students.

“There can, however, be no guarantee that we can offer places to children above the admissions number in future,” she said.

“The over-subscription will not, however, go away. We remain a school that cannot regularly accommodate all of the priority one students and cannot expand because of the lack of capital funding and the nature of the site. We are a very successful school and governors will review admissions annually, but there are no easy answers.”

Mrs James said the school would continue to press for Government commitment and support for a long-term solution. In an ideal world, Ilkley Grammar wanted to serve the whole of the Wharfe Valley, she said.

Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, who axed the Building Schools for the Future scheme, which had earmarked Ilkley Grammar for a rebuild, saw for himself the site’s constraints when he visited the 1,550-pupil school last June.

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, whose constituency includes Ilkley, has continued to press the Government to look again at Ilkley Grammar.

Pupil admission numbers are expanding at Burley Oaks Primary School, and a decision on a proposed increase in admission numbers at Ashlands Primary School, Ilkley, is expected to be made by Bradford Council shortly.

Mrs James also contested a claim of Bradford Council executive member for education, Councillor Ralph Berry, that admission issues in Addingham had “gone away”.

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