Leeds among places facing a ‘school places crisis’

East Leeds Leisure Centre site will host a new school providing much needed places from September.
East Leeds Leisure Centre site will host a new school providing much needed places from September.
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LEEDS has been named as one of the areas of the country facing a schools places crisis unless councils are given more money and powers to meet demand.

The latest projections show the city will have more primary school age pupils than places by next year.

Figures published today by the Local Government Association (LGA) say Leeds will need 67,243 places by 2016/17 - 105 per cent of the current total.

In 2017/18 this is expected to increase to 68,794 and by 2018/19 it is set to be 69,885.

Leeds City Council’s executive member for children’s services Coun Judith Blake said the authority was facing around a £37m shortfall in funding for the building work needed to provide all the extra places identified.

She added: “We will need to have some very tough negotiations with the next Government.”

The LGA warned that the situation was now reaching a tipping point and that local councils needed to be given powers to open up their own schools and order academies to expanded where needed.

It said this would be the biggest issue facing the next education secretary.

At present new schools have to be free schools or academies which are run autonomously from local councils.

However councils can run competitions to establish new academies - but they are not allowed to run them.

New places being created in Leeds include the new Temple Learning Academy - a through age free school which is set to be opening its doors in September to 60 reception age children on the East Leeds Leisure Centre site. It will open to 11-year-old pupils next year.

Date: 5th December 2017.
Picture James Hardisty.
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MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies student, within the exhibtion space.

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