A LONG-awaited new primary school is facing further delays.

Children at Silsden were geared-up to move into their state-of-the-art building – first proposed years ago – next month.

But Bradford Council bosses have announced that the transfer from the two current cramped town-centre sites won't now take place until after the new year.

Construction work eventually started on the new single-site school, off Hawber Cote Lane, early last year – with an original expectation it would be completed by this summer.

The latest was that after the half-term holiday, following an additional five days' closure, pupils would start at the new site on November 8.

But now parents and carers have received a letter from the council explaining that the extra days will instead be added to the Christmas holiday – and the children will begin at their new school from January 11.

The impact of the pandemic on the construction industry has been blamed for the latest setback.

Craven-ward district councillor, Rebecca Whitaker, has voiced her concerns at "yet another" delay.

And she is anxious about the effect of more lost schooling days, following the disruption to children's education caused by the pandemic.

"The further delay is perhaps not a surprise – I've had people asking me if the scheme was on track because the site doesn't look anywhere near complete – but it's frustrating," she said.

"I've been trying to determine from the council what provision for schooling is being made and who is responsible for setting work during those lost days. Nothing appears to be in place. After all the time that has been lost during the pandemic, parents would like to feel more reassured. Some have in good faith booked a holiday during that November week – now they will also lose time in January through no fault of their own. There are also questions around such as childcare provision, at what is an expensive time of year for families.

"I have sympathies for the headteacher and the teaching staff. They are doing their best and are affected by all this too."

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: "We share the frustration of parents that the move to the new school has had to be pushed back slightly. This is due to reasons wholly outside of our control.

"The contractor explains that the delay is down to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on the construction industry, including the disruption to supply chains and shortages of materials and labour.

“Despite the council doing all we can to help the contractor try to meet the original timetable, including providing our own staff to supplement the contractor’s, this short delay is unavoidable. Pupils will now move to the new site from Tuesday, January 11, after their Christmas holiday.

“We would like to thank parents, carers, staff, pupils and local residents for their patience and understanding."