Leeds City Council chief reveals plans to rebuild Wetherby High School

Plans to rebuild Wetherby High School have finally been announced by a senior Leeds city councillor, following months of uncertainty about the school’s future.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:58 pm
Coun Jonathan Pryor
Coun Jonathan Pryor

Plans to rebuild Wetherby High School have finally been announced by a senior Leeds city councillor, following months of uncertainty about the school’s future.

While no official announcement has yet been released by the council, the authority’s deputy leader Coun Jonathan Pryor (Lab) posted the news onto Twitter, and claimed the plans would help “safeguard” the school’s future.

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He warned, however, that the proposals are “challenging” and would first need the approval of the Government, but had the full backing of local councillors and school leaders.

While the proposals are still in their infancy, a statement claimed further information on dates and plans would be made available in September.

Coun Pryor said: “I would firstly like to thank the staff and pupils of Wetherby High School as well as the entire local community who have been incredibly patient and supportive as we have worked towards this solution which ensures a local school for Wetherby.

“It’s no secret that Wetherby High School has been in need of investment and I have been vocal about my efforts to attract Government funding.

"Although that wasn’t forthcoming I am delighted that we have been able to work alongside the school and the local councillors to find a solution that will safeguard the future of the school for the local community.”

The announcement follows a plea from Coun Pryor back in June 2020, when he claimed schools in Leeds faced a repairs backlog of £100m.

In his letter to Gavin Williamson, Coun Pryor claimed there was an urgent need to replace walling and windows at Wetherby High School but, due to the age of the structure, the block would need to be completely rebuilt.

He added the council could fund half of this, as it could sell some of the land the school sits on, but stressed the council would still be needed £13 million from government.

Quoted in Coun Pryor’s statement, Wetherby councillor Alan Lamb (Con) said: “It’s not the building that makes a school, that comes from the teaching staff and leadership within.

"For too long, Wetherby has needed a building that matches the high standards and dedication of the staff, board of governors and the hard work and commitment of the pupils themselves.

“I am delighted to be able to put aside party politics to bring a major infrastructure project that will benefit the town and our local children for many years to come.”

Wetherby High School headteacher Samantha Jefferson said: “We are delighted that the children of Wetherby High School will get to continue their successful education in the modern and purpose-built school they deserve. This will support the children and local community to do this.”

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