Early plans for new 1,000-place Middleton high school

Early plans to build a brand new high school in Middleton will finally go before Leeds City Council planning chiefs at a meeting next week, new documents reveal.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:06 pm

Plans to build the new Laurence Calvert Academy School building on the site of the Leeds City Council highways depot in Acre Road have been the source of much consternation between local and national government, as the plans have taken longer than local education chiefs had expected.

But it now appears plans are in the works, as a report is set to go before a council plans panel outlining early blueprints – known as a pre-application – which could see more than 1,050 new school places for the south Leeds site.

It is expected that the Cockburn Multi Academy Trust would run the school.

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Acre Road, Middleton. (Pic: Google Maps)

The idea dates back to 2017, when the council supported the application from the Cockburn trust to open a new seven-form entry free school on the depot site – also the site of the former Middleton High School – for September 2019.

The council then closed the facility and transferred ownership to the Department for Education in September 2018.

A document by Leeds City Council officers added: “The DfE are responsible for the delivery of the permanent Cockburn Laurence Calvert free school and their current programme shows a very constrained programme for the opening of the school for September 2022.

“To date the ongoing shortfall in south Leeds has been managed through placing temporary bulge cohorts and permanently expanding existing schools in the South.

“However, without the Cockburn Laurence Calvert free school opening for 2021 and potentially 2022, it is no longer possible to meet the full need through the existing school portfolio.”

No artist’s impressions are publicly available yet, but the document claims the proposed works include building a three-storey whole school block, along with external works, with space for 1,050 pupils.

The council had recently gained planning approval for a temporary school to be built in order to meet the urgent need for school places, and is due to open in September 2021.

Leeds City Council’s South and West Plans Panel will meet to discuss the plans on April 29. As this is a pre-application, no decision will be made, and more detailed plans are expected to be submitted to the council in the coming months.