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. Headingley is an area in the city where we are seeing an increased demand for primary age places. Data from various sources identifies that a need for an additional 30 reception places (equivalent to up to 1 form of entry) may be needed across the area by 2017.
As part of the process for identifying options and reviewing school place provision in Leeds, a Stakeholder Engagement Event using Outcome Based Accountability (OBA) methodology was held on 19 January 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. Lawnswood School to become a through school, by establishing primary provision on the current site or utilising any available land nearby.
2. Abbey Grange C of E Academy to become a through-school by establishing primary provision on a split-site.
A number of sites have been put forward, although some of these are not in council ownership or are not currently available for school use. Further investigations would need to take place to determine whether these sites could be used for school provision.
3. Encourage any of the three major Universities of Leeds (University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University or Leeds Trinity) to propose an Academy or Free School for primary (and possibly secondary) provision in the area. This school could operate as an international school, working in partnership with willing local primary schools in the area with an emphasis on accommodating children of the transient populations who live and work around the universities.
This option was not put forward by representatives of the University.
4. Expand St Chad’s C of E Primary School from 1 form of entry (30 places in reception) to 2 forms of entry (60 places in reception), utilising land at the former West Park Centre site.
Although the West Park Centre is owned by Leeds City Council, it is not currently available for school use. Further investigations would need to take place to determine whether this site could be used for school provision.
5. The Abbey Multi-Academy Trust could propose a new Free School to offer primary provision on a site yet to be specified in the Headingley area.
6. Investigate the use of the former Beckett’s Park School site for its potential as a new specialist setting for children with complex communication difficulties. This would free up space at other local schools allowing them to take additional children.
7. Re-purpose a portion of the West Park Centre site to establish communal facilities to be used by all local primary schools. This specialist setting could offer a central resource for sports and music for example and free up space at local schools allowing them to expand.
We would welcome your comments on the above suggestions or any other options you feel we should consider.