Manston Swarcliffe Whinmoor

Context

Leeds City Council has a legal duty to ensure the provision of sufficient school places in the city, and due to a rising birth rate and new housing developments, has established an on-going city wide school expansion programme to meet increased demand for school places.

Manston, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor are areas of the city where we are seeing an increased demand for primary school places. Data used for planning school places identifies a need for an additional 60 reception places (equivalent to up 2 forms entry) across the area by 2017.

As part of the process for identifying options and reviewing school place provision in this area, a Stakeholder Engagement Event was held on 21 October 2014. The aim was to bring key stakeholders together to discuss the issues and generate ideas and solutions. Attendees at the event included school governors, head teachers, elected members, parent group representatives and officers from teams across the council including school capacity planning, highways, planning and built environment.

The focus of the event was on short term planning for primary school places up to 2018.  It was on the children already born and living in the area, and on new housing under construction or where construction is expected to start in the next 18 months – particularly developments at Grimes Dyke, Vickers and Optare. 

Longer term housing planned as part of the East Leeds Extension and which equates to over 7000 houses will require the equivalent of an additional four two form entry primary schools, and further events will be planned to address this in conjunction with the timeline of those developments. School place planning for these developments was not the purpose of this event.  

 

A summary of the suggestions put forward:

Please note that these suggestions may not have been put forward by representatives of the stated school and therefore may not represent that school’s governing body view. In addition, there are also a number of practical barriers to some of the options put forward, including traffic and highways matters. Where sites or land use is suggested, this land may not be available or be in Leeds City Council ownership and would therefore need further investigation. Value for money, the location of the new site or existing site, impact of the proposed arrangements e.g. shift system on working parents and school staff are all issues which need to be taken into account when determining a way forward.        

  1. Expand Fieldhead Carr by 1FE, creating 30 additional places.
  2. Expand Grimes Dyke by 1FE, creating 30 additional places.
  3. Implement a temporary increase in Reception at Fieldhead Carr to accommodate up to 1FE whilst permanent expansions are being processed in the interim period.
  4. St Theresa’s to be rebuilt as a new school expanding from 2FE to 3FE
  5. Identify local developers to sponsor a new Primary School and commission it on a new site within the area(s), creating up to 2FE (60 additional places).*
  6. Open a new Primary School in an existing Council building e.g. a disused library or The East Leeds Family Learning Centre, and work with partners to commission a new Primary School on that site.*
  7. Design and implement a shift-system for participating schools to opt-in to that allows two or more institutes to share resources within one site by splitting the school day in two or more sessions.
  8. Create a through-school on the site of The John Smeaton Academy by utilising Council buildings which sit adjacent, creating additional primary places.
  9. Utilise land on the site of the Seacroft Hospital to commission a through-school which would link to Crossgates Primary School and create new primary and secondary places.
  10. Create SEN (Special Educational Needs) Provision for children with autism at Manston St James Primary Academy as either Partnership or Resource for up to 14 children.

* Both 5 and 6 would require the establishment of a new school. We would need to seek an Academy sponsor to run the school, the local authority would be required to fund the building of the school. A local existing academy provider could come forward. VA (voluntary aided schools) can be established in some circumstances.

We would welcome your comments on the above suggestions or any other options you feel we should consider.

Please note this consultation will close at 4pm on 14th November 2014.

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14 Comments

  1. I feel very strongly that there should be another primary school built by the house builders in the area. Manston St James is heaving on a small site. No school should be bigger than a two class intake as it makes the school too big. So option 5 would be my preference.

  2. I agree, I certainly would not want to go to option 7 having children in any form of shift system. We need additional schools in the area, not the overcrowding of our existing schools. Expansion of existing is fine, providing this is fully resourced and does not compromise facilities for existing pupils whilst this is being developed.

  3. With the information and knowledge I have it seems the longer term planning would be a new 2FE school. Mainly due to the increase in housing mentioned.
    I was expecting 2FE for my child and thought that a 2FE school was large enough let alone a 3FE school which Manston St James ended up being at last minute. I’m still uncomfortable with this as it seems planning was hugely lacking. If I was aware of it being a 3FE year my choices could have been different regardless of the outcome.

    I would not dismiss the expansion of St Theresa or Fieldhead Carr (I did visit these schools and feel they could accommodate an extra FE like Manston St james). For me as a parent, it’s the management of the expansion and room available for the children that is key. If this was possible at a much cheaper cost, and I imagine cost is high on agenda, then these would be ideal solutions also.

  4. In the past schools have been closed due to insufficient numbers this decision may at the time have been correct but due to increased numbers I feel now there is a need to increase the schools in the area. This would also allow a new builds up to date unlike many old buildings that are outdated. It would be lovely to see the old seacroft hospital come to good use, I do not believe small key stage 1 children should have additional places made in schools, school is already very overwhelming and a small number is easier for children to cope with and intergrate into school life without stress.

  5. As a parent I would be very against option 7, and the expansion of an existing school would seem the most sensible. Given the council land adjacent to Fieldhead Carr where the old nursary was would seem like a sensible place to expand and build

  6. Any decisions made should made with the interests of the children at the heart. Whilst the easy option is to cram more children into existing schools or expand those schools to accommodate more children, is this in the best interests of the children concerned?

    I would ask these questions before making any decisions.

    Is expanding Manston St James to accommodate a bulge cohort the best solution? Where do these “bulge” children come from and is expanding existing schools simply adding to the problem by encouraging people to travel into the area rather than solving the issue of school places where they are in demand?

    I agree with an earlier comment where some parents chose Manston St James as a 2 form entry school in line with the then admissions policy, only to find their children are being admitted to a 3 form entry Reception year.

  7. School places need to be provided in the immediate area required, not elsewhere because it’s convenient. This just feeds demand for popular schools as happened with Manston St James. Further problems then continue with siblings.

  8. Have we missed the opportunity to get a school included in either the Optare or Vickers sites? It would seem such a good opportunity to plan a new school with great facilities and consideration given to issues like access, parking etc. Not to mention getting a school just where it is needed.

  9. I personally don’t like the idea of a primary school becoming 3FE and therefore, with a child at St Theresa’s, would not want option 4. A primary school should feel like a family where everyone knows everyone else and I don’t believe this would be possible with so many more children there.

  10. As a parent with children at St Theresa’s I would not be happy to see the school made into a 3FE. Children at this age are sponges and want to learn making a school that is already in my opinion large enough bigger would be at the detriment to a child’s education. Point 5, 6 and 9 are all good ideas, also any schools that are currently 1FE should look to increase to 2FE. Finally point 7 is a ridiculous idea .

  11. The highway infrastructure for St Theresa’s primary can barely cope currently, expanding to a 3FE would cause significant impact on the highway network requiring substantial improvements to the existing network and additional parking provision to cope with the peak traffic flows. In addition the site, despite extensive playing fields does not have on site development capacity without a full scale rebuild project causing significant disruption to the current pupils.

    This is compounded by any additional places gained being restricted to a faith based learning offer only. Surely increasing provision should target current 1FE schools as a priority to ensure a primary school family environment is maintained. Whilst 3FE plus primary’s are being planned for in other cities these new build schools are designed using modern education architecture to ensure a small scale intimate feel is maintained, critical for the early years.

    I would ask that the surprise opening of 3FE at Manston St James is not repeated, parents need to know potential changes to school before they take the critical decision of choosing a school.

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