High school plans for pupils aged 4

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HIGH schools in Leeds could be opening their doors to pupils as young as four under new proposals to cope with the city's rapidly rising birth rate.

Education Leeds has drawn up plans to expand six sites to cope with the extra demand for places – creating up to 240 additional primary school spaces.

The YEP understands that youngsters will not be taught in the same building as older pupils but may still be on the same site and that new primary school buildings will be built on land including playing fields and parts of the education property where former schools stood.

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If the proposals are given the go ahead then Roundhay High, Allerton Grange and Carr Manor High would accept youngsters from as young as four up to 18-years-old.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said: "The increased demand for primary school places means we have to reassess the size of certain schools to ensure there will be places available to every child.

"This consultation will ensure families and local communities can find out more about the plans and help influence the final decision.

"Any additional places, will be provided in purpose built, permanent classrooms and buildings, and will ensure the brilliant education already available at these schools is available to every child who needs it."

The construction costs of the scheme could be at least 15.8m but the need for additional school places in Leeds is driven by a rapidly increasing birth rate over recent years.

Since 2009 an extra 560 reception places have been created and the council estimates suggest that a further 300 to 400 places will need to be created every year to cope with demand.

The proposals include expanding Wykebeck Primary School, in Harehills, and Bracken Edge Primary, in Chapel Allerton, from 315 places to 420 places with an admission limit of 45 to 60.

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Little London Primary School would almost triple its intake from 210 places to 630 places with an admission limit of 30 to 90 by using land off Cambridge Road as part of the school premises from 2012.

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said: "We have a statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient school places for every child in Leeds which means, in certain parts of the city, we will have to continue to expand schools to meet demand.

"Education Leeds has already spoken to head teachers, governing bodies, local councillors and area committees about these proposals and it's now important that the views of local people are considered before a final decision is made."

The public consultations will take place during January and February before a report will go before the council's executive board in March.

What do you think to the new proposals? Email the YEP at yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk

By Laura Bowyer


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