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Leeds schools cash boost to create new places

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Leeds is to get an extra £40 million in Government funding to help tackle the city’s schools places crisis.

The money has been announced by Education Secretary Michael Gove as part of a £2.35bn fund to help councils provide extra places up to 2017.

Leeds is to get £19,430,969 in 2015/16 and £20,402,517 in 2016/17. The Yorkshire Evening Post has previously revealed that the city is facing a shortfall of more than 4,000 primary school places. Figures from the Local Government Association show demand for places is set to be 69,641 by 2016/17 but there is currently only capacity for around 65,000 places in the city’s schools.

Mr Gove said yesterday: “This investment will enable local authorities to make sure that there are enough school places for every child who needs one in the years to come. The number of pupils in England is rising and is set to continue to rise well into the next Parliament.”

The deputy leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith
Blake, added: “We welcome the funding is a recognition of the demand we are face but we are concerned about the knock-on effect with the need for more secondary places as these larger year groups move through school.”

Coun Blake also warned the Government’s policy of insisting all new schools are either free schools or academies run autonomously from local councils made it difficult for the authority to plan for future places.

Earlier this year Leeds City Council approved plans to spend £44m to expand five primary schools: Allerton Bywater, Asquith, Morley St Francis Catholic, East Ardsley and Robin Hood primary schools to help meet the growing demand.

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