Pudsey/Swinnow

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 ongoing city-wide school expansion programme to meet increased demand for school places. Our projections for Pudsey/Swinnow schools, which take into account where children live, birth rate patterns and factors related to planned local housing developments, indicate that an additional one form of entry (the equivalent of an extra 30 reception class places) is required across the whole area from September 2017.

As part of the process for identifying options and reviewing school place provision in these areas, a Stakeholder Engagement Event using Outcome Based Accountability (OBA) methodology was held on January 23rd, 2015.  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.

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 in Leeds City Council ownership and would therefore need further investigation.

  1. Expand Pudsey Greenside Primary School from 45 places to 60 places in reception as a permanent arrangement on site, creating an additional 15 places per year.
  2. Expand Park Spring Primary School from 45 places to 60 places in reception as a permanent arrangement on site, creating an additional 15 places per year.
  3. Expand Southroyd Primary School from 60 places to 90 places in reception as a permanent arrangement on site, creating an additional 30 places per year.
  4. Remove the constraints placed on the Published Admission Number (PAN) at any given school so that up to six more children can be admitted to each class.

 Class size legislation restricts foundation and key stage 1 classes to 30 pupils per qualified teacher, therefore this suggestion could not be implemented

  1. Source a new site yet to be identified in the Pudsey area so that local schools can establish “satellite” classrooms as a shared resource off-site. This communal facility could be divided by the cluster, freeing up capacity in each of the schools.

We are not currently aware of available land in this area that could be used for additional school provision.

  1. Investigate the option of a through-school to be established with one of the local secondary schools either on a secondary school site or as part of a split-site solution to offer one form of entry primary provision (30 places in reception).

We are not currently aware of available land in this area that could be used for additional school provision.

  1. Acquire the old Hough Side High School site to relocate Park Spring Primary School as part of a permanent expansion.

The former Hough Side High School is already used as offices by Leeds City Council and is therefore not available for school provision

  1. Design and implement a shift-system for participating schools to opt in to, that allows multiple groups of children to attend one site by splitting the school day in two or more sessions.

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

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26 Comments

  1. Southroyd is already a big primary and extending it to 90 children per year seems too much. 3 classes per year is too big. I feel the smaller the better for primary as the larger the school the more overwhelming and daunting for young children attending. Southroyd has already been expanded which has meant classrooms have been split to accommodate this. To split further or build new classrooms reducing outdoor space seems unfair on the children.

    I feel building a new school in the area should be considering as an option.

  2. I attended the stakeholder event held in Pudsey Civic hall and am disappointed to see that my comments / proposals around school expansion have not been included.
    I strongly favour any proposals that enable primary school age children living in Leeds to walk safely from their home to local schools; this opportunity promotes good health, friendships and responsible stewardship of the environment.
    I would therefore not support any proposals to locate primary age children in schools that are not within easy safe walking distance of their homes. I think LCC should look to adopt catchment areas for schools. Pudsey schools have the capacity to accommodate the numbers projected to be requiring school places; the problem being Bradford families are taking an increasing number of places in Leeds schools. In Pudsey Bolton Bolton Primary School, a Leeds school, sitting on the border with Bradford, 50% of the school population is taken up with Bradford families. If the catchment area issue was addressed by LCC there would be sufficient places for Leeds children in the Pudsey schools and as a result school expansion would not be a requirement.

    • I am in agreement with the placement of school places in Leeds allocated to children who live in a Leeds postcode Not a Bradford postcode , I was brought up on the Bradford side of Gain lane which was a BD3 postcode which is close to Bolton Roy’d school at at that time if you lived in Bradford were denied a school place in a Leeds school therefore i went to Thornbury .I now live on Daleside road and my children go to Bolton Roy’d but most of my neighbours send their children to Southroyd .Waterloo or Fairfield at a time when council budgets are tight can Leeds city council justify spending money on new schools when they don’t really need to if they imposed the boundary rules back like they used to be

  3. I agree with focusing on catchment areas instead of expansion of school places this could also help with parking issues that arise from parents travelling from a distance to the school. It can encourage children to engage within their local communities

    • The current criteria is based on distance rather than catchment areas so children who live closer to a school have priority over ones who live at a distance (depending on other criteria such as siblings etc.). Using catchment area rather than the current criteria is unlikely to make a difference to parking issues since children who live nearest a school are considered above those who live further away anyway.

  4. As already mentioned, expanding a school will always rise issues of space; apart from needing space for the extra classroom(s), the school hall will need to be large enough for the extra pupils at lunchtime, enough space in the play areas, library space/access, parking for school staff and road access for the additional parents that would be bringing their children to the expanded school.

    I think the better option is for LCC to consider adopting catchment areas for Pudsey schools and ensuring that places in Leeds schools are there for Leeds families.

  5. With regards to the Hough side site being acquired for expansion, surely it would be easier to relocate offices than find a whole new school site. As it is already an existing school building this seems an ideal solution if LCC can find office premises elsewhere.

  6. #1 Expand Valley View to be a three form entry or alternating three form entry school permanently-space is available across both playing fields. An access road could be created by reducing the size of Rodley Park, reducing traffic congestion in the area.

    #2 Expand Stanningley Primary by moving the playground and doubling the school size. Also creates spaces for a parking provision which can be shared with Summerfield.

    #3 Move the Hough Side council offices to the Pavilion Business Park and old DSS office off Leeds & Bradford road in Stanningley and utilise Hough Side. In addition the playing fields are large so the school could be expanded and either fit in 2 schools or one large one.

    #4 Buy and utilise the soon to be vacated Green Flag offices and redevelop the car parks to be playgrounds and green field for the combined ‘through school’.

    I would add that as well as the provision of primary school places, the recent and planned expansions will also require space for upwards of 300 children to go to high schools, and increase the need for childcare provision through nurseries, before and after school clubs and holiday clubs. It will increase traffic on the roads and will all require improved bus and parking provisions.

  7. Catchment areas can also be problematic if they are not carefully planned and thought out as the boundaries can be quite arbitrary and do not always represent how close a child lives to a school. They could lead to a child in the catchment area being given a school place above another child who lives closer but isn’t technically in the boundary. This to me seems unfair. Some of the children from Bradford families are simply accessing their nearest school which seems reasonable and in keeping with the ideas above regarding children being able to walk to school. In addition, it isn’t simply the Bradford families taking school places. There are children from Farsley and Bramley who also attend Pudsey schools, which are not always technically their nearest ones. I feel changing the admissions criteria would only complicate the situation further and it would be unlikely to come into practice in time to solve this problem. It would also cause problems for families with children already attending a Pudsey school who have younger siblings applying for a place and who may no longer be eligible under new admissions criteria.

    • Children crossing authority boundaries for schools is not specific to west Leeds, it affects lots of parts of the extremes of Leeds. Whilst all children should be able to access good schools, if cross-boundary issues are affecting school places in Leeds, then this needs to be addressed. Catchment areas, engagement with Bradford Council, better promotion of Leeds schools to Leeds families are all ideas to be considered. I know, for example, of families who live close to Bolton Royd but attend Waterloo. Better focus by schools and the local authority on parents in the immediate area should help alleviate this.

      • The current policy is based on nearest school and therefore focuses on parents in the immediate area. It isn’t a case of accessing good schools rather than bad schools but giving families a chance to access their nearest school. Changing the admissions policy would not solve this problem as it would not be done in time (as stated in the stakeholder event).

        • Then we should look longer-term. A short-term response to current problems may lead to more problems further down the line. Consider admissions policies, particularly related to schools near the city boundaries. My point about good schools was a general one rather than specific to this situation; choice yes, but tempered by some kind of filter that ensures local Leeds children are able to access local Leeds schools. Perhaps this consultation should be run in conjunction with Bradford Council, who may need to consider additional schools near their boundary.

          • Looking at the numbers going forward there isn’t as much of a demand for places predicted as for 2016 and 2017 so this may not be a long term problem anyway. Changing the admissions policy would not work in the short term and there may not be a need for it in the longer term. Add to this the problems this could cause for families with children on the border who already attend a Leeds school for future siblings – possibly leading to siblings at separate schools and it shows this really isn’t the solution. A consultation with Bradford Council about possible solutions if this looks to be an ongoing situation could be a good idea but a change in admissions policy is not the best way forward for now. With regards the idea of ‘local’ children – are children who live nearest to a school not to be considered local to that school – surely they are more local than a someone with a Leeds postcode who lives much further away. It really shouldn’t be a postcode issue – this is not what is best for the children.

  8. As a community member/ educationalist I wish to voice my personal opinion which is: I strongly believe in local schools for local children and that
    Bradford children should have a place in Bradford schools, this would appear to be the issue which if addressed could then ensure sufficient places for Leeds children in Leeds schools .

  9. The Leeds City Council admissions policy uses a nearest priority, which means that local children living nearest to a particular school are prioritised for a place over non-nearest. Some families do not preference their nearest school, which may lead to places being available for other families. In this case, available places are allocated to children who have expressed a preference for a place on the basis of distance from the school. A catchment area policy would work in a similar way to the nearest priority and would not restrict places from being available for children who live outside of the catchment area.

    To amend the Leeds City Council admissions policy there would have to be a city-wide consultation. The earliest this could be done would be for entry to school in September 2017.

    The current admission policy for maintained schools in Leeds can be accessed as follows;

    http://www.leeds.gov.uk/residents/Pages/Determined-admissions-arrangements.aspx

  10. Move offices and utilise Hough Side in some way- do the council staff use the expansive playing fields?? Surely the infra-structure is still there within this purpose built school building.
    As a teacher, governor and parent the idea of split site/shift schools is terrible and not going to provide the quality education that all children deserve. Plus it could be a practical nightmare for families with more than one child regarding the school run.

  11. Hough side should be reopened as a school, council offices should be moved to another area of leeds. There are many offices empty in and around leeds. Children of leeds should be the priority.
    Hough side has plenty of outside space and was once a good school.

  12. This could work as a solution though the proposals to expand some of the schools which are willing to do so would also work. With regards children of Leeds being priority (as stated by a few comments on here) children are children regardless of their postcode and if a Leeds school is the nearest school for a child living on the Leeds/Bradford border then they should have just as much right to attend. I don’t think it fair for these children to have to travel further to school simply because of their postcode and then for children who happen to have a Leeds postcode to take the school place even if they may live at a greater distance from the school. Postcodes are not relevant in the current admissions policy but distance is and it should remain that way.

  13. Building and staffing new classrooms is an expensive way to deal with a temporary bulge in the birth rate. However we must bear in mind that the sibling component to the admissions policy means that it is not only the children beginning school in September 2017 but also their younger siblings which must also be catered for.

    Local schools are the ideal for these families. What seems clear is that the school places already exist in Pudsey. Even without changing school admissions policies, the priority is given to the nearest families. The impact of this in a few years time may be that Leeds school places are taken by local families, leaving fewer places available for families travelling distances of some miles.

  14. These are the personal views of a parent Governor.

    I would like to consider expanding Greenside Primary to a PAN of 60. To cope with the extra children (and make Greenside an even better school) I feel the school will need to expand more than just it’s classrooms. It will need an on-site kitchen, a staff car park, and more hard outside play space. The expansion could also incorporate a nursery (if the Labour party plan to expand Early Years hours happens, more places will be needed).

    Making the above happen would not be too hard or expensive but it could be a little contentious. I’m sure there are many ways to achieve the above and one of my ideas is:-

    Close the footpath that runs between the school and it’s playing field and build out from the back of the current building onto the field with a 2 story extension (to minimise the footprint). This extension should include a kitchen a hall/gym/dining room (correctly sized for the larger school) plus extra classrooms, breakout rooms, store rooms, toilets etc. The current hall could be repurposed as classrooms to reduce the number of classrooms needed in the extension. The additional hard outside play space could be gained by building a multi-use games area (MUGA) on the garden opposite the school on Carlisle Road and a small car park could also be incorporated for 10 to 15 cars. I estimate one third to a half of this garden will be needed. This will be contentious but if you consider Green Belt land is being built on for housing which is a commercial venture, using a half or less of a small garden for the benefit of many many children over future years, it’s a small price to pay for improvement. A pedestrian crossings would also be needed to help cross Carlisle Road.

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