Roundhay Consultation

Data shows there is significant pressure on primary school places in the Roundhay area. Following a stakeholder engagement event and a period of on line discussion to identify a suitable solution to the issue the following proposal has been developed:

  •  To expand Gledhow Primary School from 2 form entry (60 places per year group) to 3 form entry (90 places per year group)
  • To expand Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Primary School from 2 form entry (60 places per year group) to 3 form entry (90 places per year group)

A number of other options were discussed however many of these proved not to be viable due to constraints on site, cost, distance to area of pressure and highways issues. We are now taking comments on the proposals set out above. We are arranging a series of drop in sessions in the area to allow parents, residents and other interested parties to discuss the issues in person with officers from the school place capacity planning team, highways, planning and built environment teams. We will publicise these dates as they become available.

This phase of the consultation will run until the end of the summer term on 25th July. Following that a report on the consultation will be submitted to the Executive Board (the decision making body of the council) sometime in the autumn.

The previous discussion post is available below for viewing however to preserve the integrity of the thread we will only be approving comments on this post from now on. Please comment on this post.

Below is the consultation document:

Roundhay consultation doc – final

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7 Comments

  1. Firstly, I presume there are sufficient numbers of catholic families that the additional places at Immaculate Heart would be filled? Being non-religious I wouldn’t chose for my child to attend a faith school. I know from other parents that faith is sometimes exaggerated to get their children a place in such a school because they feel they have little or no chance of getting their child into a non-faith school of a good standard. So I’d be interested to know if there is sufficient evidence that there is genuine demand for more specifically catholic school places, as opposed to simply more places at good schools.

    Secondly I do have concerns about whether increased places at Geldhow will help those of us unfortunate enough to be outside of all the local cut-offs. The street we live in and several around it falls into this category. There is a cluster of primary schools around the same area as Gledhow (Kerr Mackie, Talbot etc). Creating more places will give a wider cut off for Gledhow, but this will overlap with areas that are within cut off areas for other good schools already (albeit that those other schools may not be their first choice). It would seem logical that these families will then have greater choice about where their children go. Families like my own meanwhile might stand a greater chance of getting into the less popular schools in that cluster, or we might remain in the same situation where we don’t manage to get into any. Places need to be provided to address these “black holes” in the area where children fall outside the cut off for EVERY local school. This means increased places at schools nearest to these areas, or another new school.

    • In reply to your first question, according to a letter posted by the Immaculate Heart governors on the School website, there are currently about 80 baptisms a year within the parish, for 90 school places, so presumably the intention is for extra places to go to non-catholic families, or catholic families from neighboring parishes.

  2. I have similar concerns to those raised by F Wells and I am not convinced that the proposals will solve the black-hole problem faced by families living north of street lane towards the park. We live on one of the West Park roads only 700 metres from Talbot Primary School and a family last year in my street did not get into any of their top five choices. I have plotted the published cut-off areas for primary schools in Roundhay for September 2013 (unfortunately the 2014 cut-off maps do not seem to have been published) onto a single map and there is large pocket of roads sat northeast of the intended Talbot Primary School catchment that simply do not fit within any actual catchment area. Due to their proximity to the park, their relative distance from other local primary schools and the current allocation process once we have failed to get into our nearest school we are allocated the remaining places last. This is resulting in families often not achieving a place at ANY of their chosen local schools and effectively starting out with no choice.

    I would like the Leeds School Place Planning team to publish a hypothetical map demonstrating the impact that these current proposals will have on these cut-off areas modelled on last years allocations and the choices parents made. I think this is necessary for us to gain any perspective over whether these changes will make any real difference to those most in need.

    I would also like the team to consider whether the allocation process itself should be altered to recognise the inequality from the start faced by families living in this black-hole area. Eldwick primary school in Bingley for example have priority 1 and priority 2 catchment areas which recognises that some families living slightly further away from their nearest school also live much further from the other local schools in the area. I believe a similar change to the allocation of places into Talbot Primary School would be an effective way to make the process a lot fairer, and help more families feel satisfied with their eventual allocated primary school placement.

  3. The only two proposals listed are to expand Gledhow or Immaculate Heart, so is it now the case that either one or both will be chosen? Or will other options still be considered?

    In September I will have two children at Gledhow and also live nearby so have concerns with how expanding Gledhow would affect the school and the increase the traffic (increase in traffic was apparently used as the reason not to expand Allerton High). I expect that people living close to Immaculate Heart have similar views.

    Both proposals look like they will just expand the catchment area when other primary schools might be closer. They seem to be the easiest and cheapest options, but not necessarily the best overall.

  4. I do wonder whether anyone involved in developing the proposals with regard to Immaculate Heart have actually visited the school. There seem to me to be a number of practical problems with this proposal which anyone familiar with the school plot of land and location would understand. Most serious to my mind are issues with traffic and road safety. Many parents use the Church car park to pick up and drop off their children. The entrance to the car park is narrow with poor sight lines. There is no separation of road and pavement within the car park, so children and cars share the same space (an issue if cars are pulling out of parking spaces and children are walking through the car park below the height of rear view mirrors). A significant increase in traffic would make an already dicey situation very dangerous indeed. The only way I can see of making it safe would be to knock down the Queens Hall and widen the entrance to make a dedicated drop off area with separate entrance and exit. Failing that, the car park probably needs to be closed to parents dropping off (although this would probably just displace the problem up to Stainburn parade) but having more people dropping off on the very busy Harrogate road isn’t a particularly safe option either, and it would worsen congestion on an already very busy arterial route into Leeds.

    I also wonder whether the Immaculate Heart sight is large enough to accommodate the extra children. The School Hall etc. wouldn’t be big enough. Outside play space would contract to allow more building. It seems to me we are turning our backs on the principles of well-laid out and spacious primary schools that we have become the norm over the last 40 years and going back to the cramped and crowded conditions of the old Victorian board schools. Is this really compatible with the Council’s espoused vision of a child friendly city and being the best city in the country?

  5. If the expansion at Gledhow is to go ahead, as I am sure it will according to those at last night’s consultation evening, then council officials informed me that the catchment area will increase in a radiating circle accordingly. I can’t understand the logic here, when the lack of places is at its greatest to the north of Talbot, some distance from Gledhow. The areas east and west of Gledhow are already well served by existing primaries, so surely, as these are exceptional times, the shape of the catchment area needs to change in order to allow for families further north the opportunity to have some choices? Otherwise, one can only assume there will continue to be a parental choice shift away from Kerr Mackie and Moor Allerton Hall, and parents further north still won’t feel they have much choice. It might alleviate places overall, but I fear it’s doubtful from a basic geometry point of view if the radiating circle principle is applied. I got the distinct impression that this hasn’t been thought through properly.

    The team at Gledhow are convinced that they can deliver and maintain good standards and the same ethos with a 3-form entry school. Although I respect the strengths of the school and its management team, I am afraid I don’t share this view and believe that an increasing the size of schools above two forms of entry is not good for primary school children, and I am concerned that the ethos and community of the school will suffer. The expansion proposal is of great concern to me on this basis and had I known it was planned when I was applying for school places for my children, I would certainly have sought alternatives. There seem to be so few choices here, for existing children and parents of the school and for parents of those children applying for a school place. My view is that the risks are too high, especially considering the strategy behind the scheme, in terms of population, geography and catchment, appears flawed.

  6. Does the council have a permanent solution to the lack of places north of Street Lane or is the council now relying on the free school plan? Has the council even tried? Bulges are not the solution. As yet we do not know where the free school could be built.

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