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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 06:45 GMT 07:45 UK
Council may close troubled school
The Ridings School
The school became notorious in the 1990s when teachers walked out
A school once dubbed the worst in Britain could close under proposals put forward by council chiefs.

The Ridings, in Halifax, West Yorks, gained notoriety in 1996 when staff walked out over pupil violence.

Next week Calderdale Council's cabinet will discuss whether to close the school, which has more than 400 pupils.

A teaching union criticised the plan, saying the school had made progress since it was put into special measures for the second time in March.

Parents told

The meeting, on 25 June, will consider whether to start a consultation process which could lead to the school shutting by mid-2009.

Parents of the 412 pupils have been told about the possibility of closure.

The move would be part of a major shake-up of secondary education in the north of the town which would see a number of schools replaced with a state-of-the-art academy.

Sue McMahon, from the National Union of Teachers, said: "The Ridings School closure consultation process will be a sham as there clearly is a predetermined outcome - closure by Calderdale cabinet or closure by government.

"What doesn't seem to have been considered is the progress that the school is making, as judged by inspectors in the most recent inspection this month."

Ms McMahon said she was concerned a new academy would end up being sponsored by the Church of England and added: "Given the Catholic Diocese's determination to take over Park Lane Community High School, this will leave parents who want an education without religious interference no option."

'Unteachable pupils'

The Ridings School was formed in 1995 by the amalgamation of two former secondary modern schools.

A year later the school was temporarily closed when teachers walked out over 61 "unteachable pupils" they wanted expelled.

The media dubbed The Ridings "the worst school in Britain", "the school from hell" and "Grange Hell".

In March, when an Ofsted report rated the school "inadequate" in 18 out of 26 categories, Schools Minister Lord Adonis said Calderdale Council should look at closing it altogether.

Head teacher Stuart Todd, who was brought into the school last year, said at the time that he was disappointed with the report, as the school had made significant improvements since its inspection.

A spokesman for Calderdale Council was unavailable early on Monday.


SEE ALSO
'Consider closing Ridings School'
05 Mar 07 |  Bradford
Fresh shake-up at troubled school
05 Mar 07 |  Bradford
Ridings School 'inadequate' again
20 Nov 05 |  Education
'Worst school's' GCSE joy
21 Aug 03 |  West Yorkshire
New inspections 'will be tougher'
01 Sep 05 |  Education

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