Plans to create new school and 3G pitches on site of Merlyn Rees High School

A new school for pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) issues is planned for the site of an old high school in south Leeds.

Tuesday, 12th July 2016, 5:00 am
An artist's impression of the planned new school.

Proposals for the 100-place secondary school at the site of the former Merlyn Rees High School in Belle Isle come as part of a partnership between Leeds City Council and the Barnsley-based Wellspring Academy Trust.

Plans for the two-storey building’s layout have been heavily influenced by Wellspring’s Springwell Academy in Barnsley, which is described as an “exemplar school for the Leeds SEMH schools”.

It features direct access to outside from each classroom and is “aimed to create a calming outlook”.

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The school would also host community sport facilities including a 3G pitch and a multi-use games area to be managed by the South Leeds Youth Hub outside of school hours.

The plans, which suggest the school may be called ‘Springwell South Leeds’, were received by the council’s planning department last week and comments from the public will be accepted until August 12.

A report to planners said: “The design proposal seeks to provide a nurturing and safe external environment for its users, which is both conducive to learning and social interaction. The external landscape provides a vital contribution to the learning process, aiding the physical, social and intellectual development of pupils.”

Last year the council set out plans to invest £45million in creating a new academy run by Wellspring based on several different sites for pupils with SEMH needs.

The new SEMH school in Belle Isle could operate alongside a school in east Leeds, while working with an existing primary school in Oakwood.

Merlyn Rees High School closed in 2006 after it merged with Matthew Murray High School to form the South Leeds Academy.

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