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Leeds school places shortage consulation set to move forward

BATTLE: Parents pictured protesting in February over plans to make an all-through school. PIC: James Hardisty
BATTLE: Parents pictured protesting in February over plans to make an all-through school. PIC: James Hardisty
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A move forward could be made on Thursday to ease a critical shortage of school places in north Leeds after years of wrangling.

The debate over how to ease the city’s ‘black hole’ of primary places has caused much consternation, with parents protesting against proposals and decision delays.

A consultation on plans for a through-school, doubling intake for primary pupils, was put on hold in February amid concerns over access and safeguarding.

Now, after a second consultation, the city’s executive board will on Thursday make a decision whether to publish a statutory notice - a formal step in the consultation process, before an outcome will be reported back to the Executive Board for a final decision later.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “Following extensive engagement with families in north Leeds we are continuing to bring forward plans to provide the much needed additional school places in the area. The statutory notice phase of consultation is another chance for people to contribute to the discussion on these proposals.

“Since 2009 the Council has provided over 12,000 additional school places across the city to meet increasing need and we will continue to work in partnership with schools and their communities to provide good educational outcomes for children.”

Initial plans would have created a through-school by joining Allerton Grange School and Moor Allerton Primary - doubling the number of primary places from 60 to 120. The current option seeks to expand the primary from 420 to 630 pupils, with admissions rising from 60 to 90 from September.

The consultation received 135 responses, with 71 in support of the scheme. But parent Damian Nicholls, of the North Leeds Primary School Action Group, said it could take up to 40 minutes for a child to walk in the area to walk to the proposed school. He said: “It’s a flawed solution. I’m sure it’ll get approved but I think it will be very poor for local families. It is not the best solution for our area.”