Questions over top Leeds arts school

Education bosses are facing questions over the events leading up to a top performing arts school closing to new students.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 11:38 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:51 am
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Last week Cathedral Academy for Performing Arts (CAPA) said no new students could enrol this September.

CAPA had been unable to secure a premises for an expanded sixth form as part a new “free school” which would eventually take up to 500 students.

The existing Thornes Road college was to take its normal cohort of 50 students next term, but could not do so after the proposed Leeds city centre premises for the free school fell through.

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Department for Education rules say free schools cannot be set up unless they have secured a permanent premises.

It has since emerged that a planning application on the Leeds site, One The Embankment, was refused due to traffic safety concerns last Tuesday. Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has written to Education Secretary Justine Greening about the future of CAPA.

Ms Creagh said she wanted to know why an alternative site was not secured by the government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA). She wrote: “The fiasco has left CAPA college on the brink of closure and dozens of dedicated staff students unsure about their future.

“The closure of CAPA would damage the life chances of young people in Wakefield who aspire to go into the arts.”

Last week, Enhance said the new academy could still be up and running in 2018 if an alternative building was secured.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are working with the trust to 
find an alternative site for the proposed new free school in the local area.

“The trust are identifying places for pupils nearby and to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.”