HEADTEACHER Martin Moorman cannot recall a time when his school wasn’t oversubscribed.
Ever since he arrived at Ravenscliffe High 19 years ago, the Halifax school for pupils with special educational needs has been overcrowded.
The popular Skircoat Green school is currently running at double its capacity, with 138 students for a building meant for 69.
But the overcrowding problems are on the brink of being eased thanks to fund-raising efforts of parents, school staff, governors and supporters in the community.
In seven months they raised £700,000 towards a new sixth form and community sports changing facility at Spring Hall, a nearby athletics track which has no trackside facilities.
The school is now just £100,000 of its target of around £2.4m.
Tomorrow school managers will meet Calderdale Council officials to discuss contract tendering. The council has already ringfenced £1.5m of central government funding for the project. Mr Moorman praised parents and business people for their drive and determination.
“Since January, with the support of many organisations and individuals, most notably the Calderdale workforce of Lloyds Banking Group, we began our funding push.
“A small team of key people met with a senior executive from Lloyds every fortnight to plot our progress against a ‘big plan’ with a targeted fundraising push over the next six months.”
The school still needs around £100,000 to put towards the building costs, as well as another £500,000 to equip the new building, though this money is not needed for at least 12 months.
Mr Moorman praised everyone connected with the fund-raising, saying: “In tougher financial times many doubted that we could do it.
“The fact that we have is testimony to the determined efforts of so many people who see this building as a crucial connection to ensuring the best possible environment for some of Calderdale’s most vulnerable young people and a community resource for the wider Calderdale population, especially the present and future athletes of Calderdale who have no ‘fit for purpose’ trackside infrastructure to accommodate them, their coaches and their families.”
Parent Lorraine Rayner, whose daughter Amelia is a pupil at Ravenscliffe, said: “We were so impressed and delighted with the school, and the drive and determination to make a success of the Spring Hall project, that we were keen to do our part. I have been very touched by the generosity of friends, family and colleagues. Everyone appreciates what a huge difference it will make.”