Consultation is underway on a proposal to create a new eight-form entry secondary free school for pupils aged 11-16 in east Leeds.
Leeds City Council is currently holding talks with Arcadia Group Ltd with a view to acquiring from them a 2.7-hectare unused playing field site on Hudson Road. This site is the proposed location for the new school and is located directly within an area of need for additional secondary school places.
Since 2009, Leeds City Council has created over 11,500 primary school places across the city in response to rising birth rates which increased from 7,500 per year in 2001 to a peak of 10,350 in 2012. For the current academic year starting in September 2018, a total of 1,600 new primary learning places were created to meet the continued demand.
As children move through from primary into secondary school, the demand for secondary places is starting to rise. In east Leeds a combination of population growth and extra demand generated by planned new housing means that a new secondary school is required to ensure that the additional demand for places can be met.
The proposed opening date for entry into year 7 is September 2021 with the school gradually filling over a number of years. There is no identified need for any additional new sixth form (16-18 year olds) places in the area.
As part of the council’s ongoing commitment to its most vulnerable learners the proposal will also include a 30-place Resourced Provision within the school for young people with a Special Educational Need and/or Disability (SEND). This supports the council’s wider strategic plan for SEND provision and the aim to increase opportunities for inclusion within mainstream education.
The outcome of this initial four-week consultation will be shared with the council’s executive board and, if the proposals are given the approval to move to the next stage, any potential free school sponsors would be invited by the council to submit bids to run the school. A final decision on the proposal would be expected by April 2020.
A new free school on the playing field site is one of two new secondary free schools planned in east Leeds that will be needed to meet the increasing demand for places over the next five years. Consideration of a location for a second free school continues.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for learning, skills and employment said:
“Education is an incredibly important part of our ambition for Leeds to be the best city to live and grow up in. Over the last ten years the increases we’ve seen in primary school numbers are now starting to be felt as children move towards secondary school and why we are considering bringing forward options for increasing the amount of secondary provision in some areas of the city.
“We are seeking the views of the public and we want all interested residents, parents and communities to ensure their voices are heard in helping the council decide the next steps.”
The consultation offers an opportunity for people to have their say about this proposal and potentially help shape the plans in these early stages.
If this proposal is approved, the detailed design of any buildings and shared facilities would be subject to a statutory planning process. There would be an opportunity to comment on those plans, which would be more detailed at that stage.
An opportunity for stakeholders to have their say on this consultation can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/schoolconsultation. The consultation is open until Sunday 7 July.