More than 60 parents and children staged a protest to call for proposals to build a new secondary school in Birkenshaw to be given the green light.

Kirklees Council has launched a consultation period after announcing plans to build a £30 million high school on the current Birkenshaw Middle School site.

The proposal forms part of the district’s £200 million Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme which will also see schools in the Kirklees district move from a three-tier to a two-tier system.

Two 11-to-16 high schools – a revamped Whitcliffe Mount Business and Enterprise College and new school on the Birkenshaw Middle site – and nine primary schools would cover the Cleckheaton, Birkenshaw and Gomersal catchment areas and replace 17 existing sites.

At present secondary school age children from Birkenshaw travel more than four miles to attend Whitcliffe Mount in Cleckheaton. Lesley Surman, a mum of three young children, said a 1,200-pupil high school in Birkenshaw would provide a huge boost to the community. “We want the focus back on the children of our community,” said Mrs Surman.

“We are 100 per cent behind the proposal for a new high school in Birkenshaw – the area has not had its own high school since 1973. We want a local school for local children.

“A high school in Birkenshaw would be a greener option because many children live within walking distance and it would also provide adult education. It would be a school for everyone.”

Lisa Holmes, whose daughter attends East Bierley First School, called on parents backing the proposal to make their feelings known. She said: “We are launching a website and a petition but we need parents to write to the Council if they support the plan. A lot of people feel very strongly in favour of a new school in Birkenshaw. But this is not a Birkenshaw versus Cleckheaton issue.”

Angela Holt, of Birkenshaw First School, said local children would benefit from the proposed high school, which, if given the green light, will open on the Birkenshaw Middle School site by September 2013. The Middle School is set to be demolished as part of the district’s reorganisation plans.

She said: “I think the middle school site is the ideal location for a high school. I don’t think it will be exclusive, as some people claim. I think it will attract a lot of children from Birstall and Batley.”

Kirklees Council’s Executive will make a final decision on the Birkenshaw high school proposal on Wednesday, January 28, next year.

Parents are now being asked to give their views and have until Friday, November 14 to contact Kirklees Council over the proposals. Write to FREEPOST, Kirklees Council, School Organisation and Planning Team, visit or call 01484 225014.

e-mail: dan.webber