A FREE school for pupils of all ages could provide more than 1,000 new places which are needed in east Leeds, according to the head teacher leading the plans.
The Temple Learning Academy could open its doors to primary school pupils next year and to 11-year-olds from 2016 if the plans gets final approval from the Department for Education (DfE).
The school is being planned by the Temple Newsam Learning Partnership Trust - a group of existing schools in the east of the city. Martin Fleetwood, the principal at Temple Moor High School, who will also lead the planned new academy, said that all schools in the trust in east Leeds were oversubscribed.
Temple Moor had twice as many people picking the school as a first choice for year seven as it had places available.
He also warned that the planned housing developments in Seacroft and Thorpe Park would increase demand for secondary places further.
The plan for the Temple Learning Academy has been given initial DfE approval. Talks are now ongoing between the trust, Leeds City Council and Whitehall officials about basing the new free school on the site of the East Leeds Leisure Centre.
The plan is to create a through-age school which would recruit 60 children in reception year next September and then another 120 year seven pupils for the secondary phase in 2016.
If full by 2021, the school would provide more than 1,000 new places for families in the east of the city. Mr Fleetwood said that the trust had carried out “postcode analysis” which proved there was demand for a new school in this part of the city.
Diane Potter, operations manager at Temple Newsam Learning Partnership said: “ We know from speaking to parents that there are some people who are having to travel big distances, bus journeys to get to schools elsewhere and it’s heartbreaking.
“Temple Moor had twice as many parents putting the school as first choice as we have places available.”
The trust is now advertising for a head to lead the primary phase of the planned school and hope to make an appointment this month. It also plans to appoint a separate secondary head.
Mr Fleetwood would be the overall head of the through-age school. The Temple Learning Academy would see each year group have a head of guild who would be responsible for pastoral care and who would move up the school with the same year group from reception class until the students were 16.
The trust plans to keep the school open all year long and open up facilities to the community. The first of a series of information events to allow parents to find out more about the planned school takes place at the Co-op in Halton Moor on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.