YEP Says, May 1: Arrival of country’s biggest free school ticks most boxes

Farnley Academy has been graded as outstanding by Ofsted.

Farnley Academy has been graded as outstanding by Ofsted.

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Academy can be catalyst for city regeneration.

FREE schools continue to divide public opinion for the simple reason that each time it feels like taking a step into the unknown.

The model conceivably allows just about anyone to set up their own school and decide exactly how its students will be taught, which creates uncertainty about what sort of education those pupils will receive.

There should be fewer concerns, however, about the new free school earmarked for south Leeds.

The £25m Ruth Gorse Academy, which will become the biggest free school in the country, is being set up by an organisation which already runs two schools in the city and has a good track record.

Crucial too is the fact that the school will provide 1,500 much-needed school places in a city currently struggling from a dire shortage.

Furthermore, this is another key piece in the jigsaw in terms of regenerating south Leeds.

The school, which having been signed off by Ministers can open in 2016, is sure to play a key role in encouraging more families into the area.

Despite all these positives there will still be some who question the principle of state-funded schools run outside of council control.

However, no one can argue with results – and on that front the fact that Gorse Academies Trust operates Morley and Farnley academies, both of which have outstanding Ofsted ratings, offers reassurance.

Name change sees uni move with the times

WHAT’S in a name? It’s a question college bosses will have been asking themselves as they debated the rechristening of what is currently known as Leeds Metropolitan University.

The switch to Leeds Beckett University, which kicks in this year, hasn’t been popular with everyone.

But this distinctive new monicker will set the university apart – not least from London Metropolitan University.

And it’s important to remember that this won’t be the first time in its history that the university has taken on a new identity. Times change and sometimes institutions must change with them.