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Addingham campaign group calls for new secondary school

ADDINGHAM CAMPAIGN GROUP CALLS FOR NEW SECONDARY SCHOOL
The campaign group set up in Addingham to address the difficulties experienced by village children in gaining admission to Ilkley Grammar School, is calling for a new secondary school to be built in the area. The group, which held its inaugural meeting this week, is also seeking short term changes to Ilkley Grammar’s admission procedures. Representatives of the group are meeting Bradford Council officials next week to press for urgent action to ensure that there is no repeat of the problems experienced in 2009 and 2007 where several Addingham children were initially refused access to Ilkley Grammar.
Parish Council Chairman Ian Taylor, who also chaired the Campaign Group meeting said:
“We had a constructive meeting where all the issues and ideas were fully aired. Representatives of parents, school governors, local business, the churches, the Parish Council and Civic Society were present, and everyone contributed to a healthy discussion, and an initial action plan has been drawn up.
With the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future programme, we are back to square one, and we feel that a new secondary school in the area, rather than a rebuild of Ilkley Grammar, is the preferable solution as far as Addingham children are concerned. A new school in, say, the Burley in Wharfedale or Menston area would ease the pressure on Ilkley from that end, leaving Ilkley Grammar to serve the children of this part of the Wharfe valley much more efficiently.
Addingham children have nowhere else to go. We are out on a limb and at the end of a county. Even the given alternative of Greenhead, in Keighley, which would have been inconvenient and unacceptable to most parents, will no longer be an option from next year as it will fill up when it becomes an Academy linked to Bradford University. It will be interesting to know where they expect our children to go then”.
The group have set up a working party to draw up detailed plans and to engage with other parties who may support the campaign for a new school.  In the meantime, group representatives will meet with Bradford Council officials next week to receive an update on the predicted numbers for the 2011 intake, and also to explore various short term proposals.
Ian Taylor said: “Group members have been busy researching many aspects of the admissions process. We have considered a number of issues which we can take forward in parallel to the longer term campaign. These include:
  • seeking a formal review of the current Priority Area boundaries. This might involve re-drawing the Priority Area 1 boundary, giving Addingham Primary School feeder status, or both.
  • looking at the protections provided by having Addingham Primary School designated as a rural school, and at the benefit of Rural Protection for the wider community
  • talking to the Schools Adjudicator regarding the process by which the current admissions procedure and boundaries were drawn up, and exploring the scope for a formal complaint or challenge
  • seeking much tighter controls over the excessive fraud that we know takes place whereby parents get round the admissions system for example by giving false or temporary addresses
  • looking at how the process of offering school places can be tightened to eliminate uncertainty by giving officials a more accurate handle on take-up numbers at an earlier stage”

The Group will meet again in early September.