Parents and schoolchildren in 500 cars formed a rush-hour convoy to call for a secondary school to be built in Birkenshaw.

Roads were brought to a standstill yesterday as vehicles travelled from the heart of the village to Batley Sports and Tennis Club to call for Kirklees Council to back proposals to site a £30 million high school on the current Birkenshaw Middle School site.

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

Convoy co-organiser, mother-of-three Lesley Surman, said: “It was absolutely fantastic. We had more than 500 cars and more than 1,000 people take part.

“The turnout shows the level of support for siting a school in Birkenshaw. They have to listen to us now – if they do not there is something wrong with the system.

“The event was not political but all about the children. It was quite emotional to see everyone. We did not intend to upset anyone and if we did so we apologise but it was only on one day and for a very good cause.”

At present, secondary school children from Birkenshaw travel more than four miles to Whitcliffe Mount in Cleckheaton.

Father-of-two Steve Housecraft, 32, said: “We live in Birkenshaw and we want our school to be down here. We don’t want our children to have to travel so far to get to school.”

Nicky Carter, 38, mother of two aged nine and seven, said: “I feel that it’s not fair that everybody else in the area gets a local high school and we have to travel four miles. I don’t call four miles local. They are planning on putting two high schools in Batley. That would mean East Bierley, Birkenshaw and Gomersal would not have any.”

Paula Ingham, who has two children aged four, called for politicians not to “politicise” the proposal.

Many vehicles in the protest were adorned with green ribbons to highlight the environmental toll which they believe will accrue if a separate option, siting a new school on the site of the present Batley Girls School at Howden Clough, is given the green light.

Father-of-two Paul Kendall said: “For me this comes down to the sheer amount of travelling children and families will have to take on if a school is not built in Birkenshaw. The damage not having a school will do to the community will be horrendous.”

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

Parents are being asked to give their views and have until tomorrow to contact Kirklees Council. Visit or call (01484) 225014.