A proposal to create a new secondary school in east Leeds is to be discussed by senior councillors in Leeds next week.
At the meeting to be held at Civic Hall on Wednesday 20 March, members of the council’s executive board will be asked to give approval for negotiations to begin on securing land at Torre Road to be used to build a new school.
The site is currently 2.7 hectares of currently unused playing field land owned by the Arcadia Group Ltd, and initial talks have been positive over a potential deal for the council to buy the land in order to create a new free school to serve the local area.
There is a need to provide new secondary school places in east Leeds due to recent population growth in the area and housing density, with this demand moving from primary to secondary as pupils move through education over time.
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.
A review of 24 potential sites for secondary provision in east Leeds has been carried out, with the Arcadia site at Torre Road meeting all the criteria in terms of location, housing growth and planning policy.
If approval is a given and a deal secured for the council to buy the land, consultation on the plans could take place in the summer with the new school potentially opening in September 2022.
This site would be one of two new secondary schools in east Leeds needed to meet demand within the next five years, with consideration continuing as to a possible location for the second school.
The report to be discussed by the executive board also gives an overview of the current position of the council’s Learning Places Programme, the work being undertaken and the ongoing pressures and challenges being faced. This includes a latest council estimate of the funding gap of £67m in the programme across the city.
Leeds City Council executive member for learning, skills and employment Councillor Jonathan Pryor said:
“Despite the significant ongoing financial challenges and increasing demand for school places, the council continues to do everything it can to bring about solutions to these issues and to offer all children in the city the best possible conditions to learn.
“In east Leeds where the pressures are particularly high we have conducted a detailed review of the area and the Torre Road Arcadia site is the most suitable option for a new secondary school so we look forward to developing those plans further in the months to come.”
To see the report to be considered by the executive board, go to https://bit.ly/2F7Y8RF (agenda item 10).
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