Leeds council does a u-turn over plans to merge two schools

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The proposed merger between a primary and a secondary school in Moortown has been put on the backburner following a council re-think.

Senior members of Leeds City Council were set to agree that statutory notices should be published on amalgamating Moor Allerton Hall Primary School and Allerton Grange in the north of the city, but the report being put to the council's executive board earlier this afternoon was withdrawn during the meeting.

The proposal was intended to create extra school places, increasing the size of the primary provision from 60 to 90 and to form a through school, but had been challenged by parents and friends of the school who formed The Save Moor Allerton Hall Primary School group.

The council had already re-drawn proposals addressing a number of issues, but there were still significant concerns including the merger affecting the improvements required of both schools.

Addressing today's meeting, Coun Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families, said: "We have been engaging in further discussion with local ward councillors for Roundhay and Moortown, visits with officers and also have been listening to the school council, governors and senior leadership team at Moor Allerton Hall and recognise that we need a further round of consultation to compare the views of a wide range of stakeholders on the expansion of Moor Allerton as a stand alone three form entry rather than a through school."

The u-turn was welcomed by the opposition who recommend it be dropped permanently.

Coun Andrew Carter (Cons) said: "The schools are both schools that were recently found to be requiring improvement, and I am sure they will, but it has been pointed out that that in itself is a significant piece of work for the staff to undertake and as it currently stands I don't think the paper will achieve the objectives. I am very pleased you appear to be re-thinking in part and I think that will result in a total re-think."

Lib Dem leader for Leeds, Coun Stewart Golton added that improvement needed to be the focus for both schools and he expected that there will be a different proposal on the back of the u-turn.

Reacting the news posted on Facebook by the Save Moor Allerton Hall group there was relief.

Jon Hannah said: "Hopefully now there is a chance to work towards a real solution."