Multi-million pound bill for council over school transformation blunder

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Council bosses were forced to spend an extra £3.43m to transform two Leeds “through schools”.

The plans to turn Carr Manor and Roundhay High Schools into centres which could educate children from four through to 18 were expected to cost £2.57m and £4.43m, respectively.

But Leeds City Council had to allocate an extra £3.43m in March last year to complete both of the schemes.

A report has slammed the “insufficiently experienced” project management team responsible for the project and has said timescales for the schools were insufficient.

The report revealed that no officer working on the projects had the relevant experience to deliver whole new modular build schools when the first cost report was delivered in 2011. The document also highlights a range of lessons the council needs to learn to prevent another cost blunder.

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services said: “We acknowledge and regret that errors during the project development phase of the through-schools at Roundhay and Carr Manor resulted in costs being much greater than we estimated.”

The council’s Executive Board approved proposals to change the age range of Carr Manor High School from 11 to 18 to four to 18 in July 2011. The board then approved a change in the age range of Roundhay School and agreed to deliver primary provision on the site of the former Braim Wood School.