25 Nov 2016

Work starts on £45 million specialist education provision for Leeds

Health Mental health

Building work is now underway to construct three brand new, purpose-built schools for pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, through a multi-site academy known as Springwell Leeds - part of Wellspring Academy Trust.

Leeds City Council has invested £45 million to transform specialist education in Leeds. The investment will ensure world class provision for children and young people with additional SEMH needs in the city.

The academy will be split over four sites in total including three new builds located in the north, east and south of the city. The building work is being delivered by Interserve, the international support services and construction group, with all academies being operational by September 2018.

In order to mark the start of works at all three sites, Leeds City Council, Interserve and Wellspring are holding a ground-breaking ceremony with some special guest pupils and local dignitaries next week.

Media opportunity

When: Tuesday 29 November at 1pm

Where: Interserve site offices, Brooklands Avenue, Seacroft, LS14 6PL

Members of the media are welcome to attend the ground-breaking ceremony at the new site of the Springwell Leeds East Academy where representatives from Leeds City Council, Interserve and Wellspring will be available for photographs and interviews, alongside pupils who attend existing Springwell provision.

The new learning places will replace the current ‘Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties’ (BESD) provision and Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) provision, and will be delivered by Wellspring Academy Trust, the only ‘outstanding’ provider of SEMH provision in the north of England.

All SEMH provision in Leeds will be delivered over four locations across the city, which are:

  • Springwell Leeds East – the former East Leeds Family Learning Centre;
  • Springwell Leeds South – the former Merlyn Rees high School site;
  • Springwell Leeds North – a redevelopment of the Tinshill PRU and;
  • Springwell Primary Academy - the existing BESD provision at Oakwood Lane.

Leeds City Council is working with Wellspring Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust with a track record of outstanding academies and reputation for excellence in the area of specialist education, to deliver the provision. Springwell Leeds will offer a continuum of provision for children and young people with more complex needs with specialist teaching areas, sensory rooms, outside learning areas, sports pitches as well as multi-use games areas. The Springwell Leeds South provision will also include a community pitch space which will be managed via the South Leeds Youth Hub for children and young people in the local area.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families, said:

“The creation of Springwell Leeds marks a progressive and exciting time for specialist learning provision within the city, and the £45m investment by Leeds City Council demonstrates our continued commitment to ensuring all pupils are supported to succeed and reach their full potential. This new specialist provision will radically improve the learning, support and outcomes for some of the city’s most vulnerable children.”

Scott Jacques, Executive Principal for Springwell Leeds Academy, Wellspring Academy Trust, said:

“The investment made in these buildings will help us to deliver our vision to provide the best possible care and education that we can for children and young people with Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. Here at Springwell Leeds Academy we have ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’ for our students and this is at the centre of what we do. We are creating an academy that is welcoming, caring, safe and warm, and believe that all our pupils can be supported and empowered to succeed.”

John Gittins, divisional director at Interserve, said:

“We are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Leeds City Council and the Leeds Education Partnership as we deliver these academies, they are a great investment by the council in the future of children and young people in Leeds. At Interserve we are committed to investing in the communities we work in and we will be engaging with the local supply chain as well as creating new job opportunities for local people.”


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team