Hundreds more secondary school places needed in Leeds

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COUNCILLORS HAVE been warned that parts of Leeds which have been affected by a primary school places crisis will now need hundreds of extra secondary places from next year.

Leeds City Council has only just overcome major controversy over primary provision with parents in North Leeds claiming they were living in a “school places blackhole”

The Fair Access campaign was launched after around 80 parents claimed they had no chance of getting a place at a local school.

Urgent talks between the council and schools helped secured 90 more primary places at Wigton Moor, Gledhow and Highfield primaries.

Now the council’s decision-making executive board has been told that 200 additional secondary places are needed in the inner North and East of the city by next year as primary pupils move up. A report into the planned expansion of Roundhay School says that 200 extra year seven places are needed in the area next year. And by 2018, the council will have needed to create an extra 375 year seven places in these areas. To help meet part of this demand, the council is proposing to increase the number of year seven pupils being taken on at Roundhay School.

The school became a through age school for both primary and secondary pupils in 2012.

Plans being discussed by the council’s executive on Wednesday would see the school’s overall numbers rise from 1,250 to 1,500 between years seven and 11.

The plan would come into affect from 2017 with the year seven increasing from 250 to 300. The first 60 children from the primary phase of the school are due to move into the secondary phase in 2019.

The council report says that when this happens the official number of secondary places at Roundhay will drop from 300 to 240 - as 60 of the spaces will be taken up by pupils already at the school.

The row over primary places in North Leeds has seen some of the parents involved announce plans to create their own free school in the West Park area of Roundhay. They have now applied for a grant from the New Schools Network charity which supports people wanting to set up their own new state schools.

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