Academy route for high school

HIPPERHOLME and Lightcliffe High School will become the second school in the Brighouse area to become an academy.

The school has finished its consultation period and is waiting for the legalities to be finalised before it converts to academy status on July 1.

Head teacher Anthony Smith said they wanted to build on the strengths of the school. “We wanted to look at how we could still work with the local authority but gain some of the independence from the local authority in terms of being able to pursue projects like The Maltings,” he said.

“We have consulted with parents and staff and all the local schools both within Calderdale and cross boarder throughout February and the governors met on March 1 to consider the responses. There had been a standard letter from the union as one response and all other responses were overwhelming positive to the conversion.

“We have had no opposition within the consultation period. We had a very successful parents consultation meeting where myself and some other senior staff met with parents who were all very supportive.”

He said some of the benefits to becoming an academy were the flexibility in relation to the curriculum, they could develop new initiatives such as The Maltings and they would benefit from the additional funding. But the school would substantially remain the same.

“One of the things that did come out of the parents meeting was that they were keen to make sure that the links between the local authority and the school were maintained. The school had already agreed that it would do this but it is nice to see the parents and the school itself wanting to maintain the positive links with the local authority. Even though we have opted out we will still continue to use the services from the local authority we get now.”

The school is transforming The Maltings, part of the Foundation Head Brewery at Ovenden Wood, into a centre for LifeLong Learning.

From September the building will provide learning in 15 classrooms to around 60 students offering courses in subjects such as early years child care, hospitality and catering, and hair and beauty.

Brighouse High School was the first school in the area to be converted into an academy on April 1.