Leeds MP opposes council plans for future of two schools

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An MP has accused Leeds City Council of “pitching one community against the other” in his response to a consultation on the future of secondary school provision on the outskirts of the city.

The authority unveiled plans last month to demolish Boston Spa High School, sell off the land for development and merge it with nearby Wetherby High.

It says pupils numbers are too low at both schools and that only one secondary is needed in the area and it should be located in Wetherby.

The plans sparked outrage in Boston Spa, with residents launching a campaign and headteacher Chris Walsh publicly criticising the move, arguing the school is in the process of applying to become part of The Gorse Academies Trust.

Now, Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke has officially opposed the plans in his response to the public consultation, launched by the council earlier this month.

He wrote: “The way in which Leeds City Council has acted to date seeks to pitch one community against the other. As an MP it is my role to bring communities together, not to drive them apart.

“The council’s argument focuses little on education standards and outcomes for pupils. Its proposal is a plan to manage decline, rather than one that sets a proactive vision to improve outcomes.

“Both Boston Spa and Wetherby High Schools are already improving schools and further improvement, alongside a positive approach to retain and attract more pupils, should be the council’s focus.

“On behalf of my constituents, I therefore oppose Leeds City Council’s plan to close schools in my constituency and submit that two secondary schools is the desire of those I represent.”

The council said it would not comment on individual responses.

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