East Leeds: Free school planned for vulnerable students

Ros McMulllen, the Leeds head leading the bid.

Ros McMulllen, the Leeds head leading the bid.

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PLANS are being developed for a new alternative provision free school in Leeds to support vulnerable students in the east of the city.

The LEAF Stewardship School could open in the Seacroft area in September 2016 if its application is successful.

It has been developed by an academy trust which was set up by the David Young Community Academy - one of Yorkshire’s first purpose built academies.

The plan is for a school which will provide places to students aged between nine and 14 from across East Leeds who require an alternative to a mainstream secondary school.

The application has been led by Ros McMullen the chief executive of the LEAF Academy Trust and executive principal at David Young.

She said: “LEAF Academy Trust is about serving the needs of our local community. Parents and head teachers have told us how our most vulnerable children in both primary and secondary schools require a specialist provision to support them in becoming successful. Our core values of love, enterprise, aspiration and faith run through our vision and commitment to deliver this project.

“It will improve the life chances of the young people in East Leeds. If we are successful at this interview stage we will be working closely with local schools, families and the local authority to ensure that our Free School addresses the most pressing needs.”

The trust attended aDfE interview last week and will find out if their application has been successful later this year

The plan is for the school to be based in the Moyes Centre in Seacroft.

The LEAF Academy Trust currently sponsors three schools in Leeds: David Young which opened in 2006, Manston St James Primary Academy in Cross Gates and Rothwell Primary Academy.

Free schools have been a key policy of the coalition Government which has invited bids from parents, community groups and existing schools to set up new provision.

There have been 19 set up across Yorkshire so far including four in Leeds. The LEAF Stewardship School would be the city’s second alternative provision academy.

Natalie Evans, director of New Schools Network charity which supports groups setting up free schools said: “LEAF Academy Trust has clearly worked hard to have been invited for interview at the Department for Education and we hope they will have the

chance to put their plans into action. There are now more than 360 free schools open or approved to open and they are proving increasingly popular with parents.” proving they can deliver – free schools are more likely to be judged ‘outstanding’ than state schools.”

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