Leeds City Council has announced it will be taking more time to consider the huge response to its proposals to transform a primary and secondary into an “all-through” school to address a places “black hole”.
The news comes the day Allerton Grange School revealed it would be launching a council-backed appeal against a ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted rating.
Coun Lisa Mulherin told The Yorkshire Evening Post that due to the number of responses to the first round of consultation on the plans, which would see Moor Allerton Hall Primary School and Allerton Grange School merged with an increased primary admission number, the authority wanted to ensure the resulting report wasn’t rushed before the executive board.
As a result, it will now go before members at their next meeting in February 2018 - two months later than the original December date proposed - who will then decide whether it should go to a second round of consultation.
Coun Mulherin said: “We have had a lot of criticism during the consultation period.
“We are basically taking the appropriate time to reflect on all of the responses we have received up until the consultation ended on a few days ago.
“It would have been a very quick turn-around to get it to the December executive board. To do that consultation justice we are taking it to the February executive.”
Coun Mulherin said a 2018 opening date had not been ruled out, however if it wasn’t able to be delivered in time, appropriate measures would be taken to ensure there were enough school places next year. which could mean further bulges.
Meanwhile, the council says recent email trails released under the freedom of information act proves it has been fighting the corner for a new free school in Roundhay, and argued that, despite parents’ claims that it showed tension between the authority and the Government, the emails actually highlighted it had done everything required.
Coun Mulherin said: “From our perspective it shows we have tried very hard to work with the range of different partners to deliver what was going to be a very difficult project.”
The council is now awaiting a response from the Regional Schools Commissioner Vicky Beer after it sent through a feasibility study on the sites by the end of November as requested.
However, Coun Mulherin said the Department for Education had not upheld its part of the deal to meet with the “unravelling” trust set-up to run Roundhay Park Primary to assess its capability.