Parents protest over Sheffield school places row

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Parents protested outside Sheffield Town Hall in a show of opposition to controversial plans over school places.

A consultation into creating extra places across the city to meet demand, including building two new secondary schools, has raised many concerns in recent weeks.

Parents and children protest outside Sheffield Town Hall at the proposed redevelopment of Holt House School'Picture Dean Atkins

Parents and children protest outside Sheffield Town Hall at the proposed redevelopment of Holt House School'Picture Dean Atkins

Parents of children at Holt House Infants and Carterknowle Juniors launched a campaign as they were concerned over plans to merge the two and create a new thorough primary as well as a 1,200 place secondary there.

Extra traffic, pollution the loss of green space and classroom space per child are chief among their fears.

Sheffield Council last week added a new option to the consultation - that of using the former Bannerdale Centre as a 3-18 thorough school, and said it had ‘listened’ to feedback.

But parents say they have not requested that option, only that the Bannerdale Centre be considered as a secondary school, and that ‘super school’ would not be right for the community as it raises fresh problems.

Parents and children protest outside Sheffield Town Hall at the proposed redevelopment of Holt House School'Picture Dean Atkins

Parents and children protest outside Sheffield Town Hall at the proposed redevelopment of Holt House School'Picture Dean Atkins

Kitty Evans, co-chair of the Friends of Holt House Parent Teacher Association, said at the protest: “They say that they are listening to us but if that is the case they have got very selective hearing - the best part of a thousand people have signed a petition saying they do not want a three to 18 thorough school in any capacity or way on the site.”

She said parents recognised the need to meet demand for places but were opposed to all current options and had suggested alternatives . Parents also now want the consultation to be extended past its original six weeks.

Several questions were asked about the consultation inside the town hall at the council’s full meeting - with one parent saying ‘why are you destroying an outstanding school with a brilliant ethos?’

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, said the Bannerdale Centre proposal was ‘an option’ but the council wanted more suggestions to come forward.

Parents and children protest outside Sheffield Town Hall at the proposed redevelopment of Holt House School'Picture Dean Atkins

Parents and children protest outside Sheffield Town Hall at the proposed redevelopment of Holt House School'Picture Dean Atkins

She added: “Whatever happens in the future, and no decision has been made, we would not want to lose the outstanding education that Holt House gives and the outstanding leadership and teaching that goes on there - whatever happens it will be done in partnership. “We want more outstanding schools - not less.”