Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Council’s executive board to discuss the future of City of Leeds

The future of education in Hyde Park looks brighter following recommendations to retain a school on the site of the City of Leeds school.

Leeds City Council’s executive board will meet next Wednesday (21 July) and consider recommendations by Education Leeds to maintain an 11-16 school at City of Leeds and establish new governance arrangements by September 2011.

At the last executive board meeting in June, Education Leeds was asked to work with the school and organisations connected to it to develop alternative proposals. A range of options were considered - including alternatives which had been put forward by the school’s governors and Leeds Metropolitan University.

An earlier public consultation revealed the school is valued by the young people who attend, and their parents. Education Leeds received 175 responses to the statutory notice regarding plans to close the school from pupils, teachers, parents, community representatives, a union and Leeds Metropolitan University.

However, a project team - consisting of the City of Leeds’ governing body and headteacher, representatives from a local high school and primary school, Leeds City College, Leeds College of Building, Education Leeds and Leeds City Council’s children’s services department - agreed any school on the site would need to see fast improvements made and would need to secure a broader confidence in the future stability, quality and effectiveness of the school.

It also agreed that retaining a school on the site which had new governance arrangements would improve outcomes for young people, improve community cohesion, build on the strengths of current provision, be attractive to young people and their parents and be supported by key partners.

Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
“We have always said that we will do whatever it takes to make each and every one of our schools the best it can be. There is no doubting that City of Leeds has the full support of the local community, staff and pupils who are committed and passionate about it.

“These recommendations represent the best of the many suggestions that have been put regarding the school’s future. They will build on the passion and commitment of young people, staff, governors, the community and the school’s partners and will help to ensure that every young person who attends can benefit from the best education available.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children's services, said:
"There has been a lot of support from parents, governors, staff and pupils surrounding this school and I want to praise them for the work and commitment they have all shown over the recent months.

"This has shown just how important a school is to a community and it is heartening to see the ongoing commitment from key partners such as the local primary schools and college, who are all willing to invest the resource needed to ensure the continued successful progress of local young people."

Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board member for learning at Leeds City Council, said:
“After attending the public consultation in February I was impressed with the passion and commitment of the staff, pupils and community. A proposal was made at the meeting which Education Leeds has worked on and the new recommendation will be put to the executive board next week.

“I’m pleased that since there has been the possibility of closure the school has seen improvements in attainment and attendance. City of Leeds has demonstrated great potential and these recommendations provide an opportunity for that promise to be built on. This is the beginning and not the end of a process that will ensure the young people in the area receive a first class education.”

Leeds City Council’s executive board will meet on Wednesday 21 July to consider the recommendations.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577
Email: jon.crampton@leeds.gov.uk