Wave of opposition for Leeds ‘mega school’ proposals

Campaigners have put up this Save Our School sign at Moor Allerton Hall Primary School. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.

A wave of opposition for a new combined “mega school” in Leeds is mounting from leaders, governors and parents as a campaign against the proposals to tackle a places “black hole” gathers pace.

Last month Leeds City Council unveiled its proposal, which would create an additional 60 new reception places each year from September 2018, in a move that would replace plans for a new free school in Roundhay.

The authority launched a consultation on plans to make Moor Allerton Hall Primary School and the nearby Allerton Grange School a four-form entry all-through school on one combined site, split over three buildings.

However school leaders at the primary say they, along with staff and parents, are not being given enough information to ensure they can give informed responses and have expressed concerns over the proposed time scale.

They have now put forward a series of questions to the council and have demanded answers “as a matter of urgency”.

They include questions on changes to leadership and staffing, on building and infrastructure, environmental impact and ask what other alternatives have been explored.

A statement from the leaders and governing body says: “These important questions need to be answered so we know what we are being asked to agree to and whether it is a good choice for our children.”

Meanwhile, parents say the plans for the “mega school” have caused “frustration and bewilderment”, with the council unable to “provide satisfactory answers to basic questions” about what this means for their children.

Andrew Eastwood, chief officer for learning improvement at Leeds City Council, said: “We note that the leaders of Moor Allerton Hall ‘welcome this consultation so all of those involved get a chance to have their say’.

“This is a consultation about the principle of a through school on this site to meet the widely recognised need for additional school places in the Roundhay area. In line with Department for Education guidance on proposed changes to schools this consultation is for us to listen to schools communities about any issues or concerns they have. The views we are gathering from parents, families, neighbours and the schools themselves will help to shape the proposal if the principle of a through school on this site is agreed.

“We are working with the schools, local residents and community groups to help ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to contribute. This part of the consultation process runs until the end of November so there’s still plenty of time for us to have some quality conversations with those involved.”

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